I feel guilty. I feel sad. People’s lives are being uprooted, their sin being that they were born outside of the borders that were drawn centuries ago by ain’t shit white men. I feel sad not because, once again, angry mobs have lost their humanity but because I am not as ‘outraged!’ as I should be. Not as ‘outraged!’ as everybody else. I feel guilty because the outrage, the shame, the anger that I felt in 2008 has all been replaced by numbness. I have become what I have despised all these years; an apathetic young man. With every attempt I make at ‘caring’ I grow even more apathetic because it seems, collectively, we don’t learn.
The reaction on social has been disappointing as usual, everybody’s outraged, everybody’s wants to make it clear that they are not like ‘those’ other blacks who seemingly can’t think for themselves but will go on a murderous rampage because some Zulu king told them to! No one wants to admit that South Africa is a sexist, Xenophobic, racist, Homophobic place. The rainbow nation myth we lampoon everyday is somehow valid when it comes to Xenophobia. This morning on a breakfast show a Minister of Home Affairs, with a straight face, blame a third force for the recent spate of Xenophobic violence. We laughed at this explanation in 2008 and it seems like seven years later we are quick to offer convenient reasons that clearly don’t make sense. The President, after being quiet for days, goes on record and says that South Africans are generally not Xenophobic. Governments solution to this is to send the army to guard the border because apparently our ‘porous’ border is the reason that shops are getting burned and human beings are getting burned. Speaking of people getting burned, Enersto Nhamuave was burned alive during Xenophoia 1.0 in 2008, he died a horrible death and his death has now been reduced to a social media hashtag. Stay classy South Africa.
The same way u download our music pls use this pic as ur profile pic to show ur support against xenophobia! pic.twitter.com/EVhKgRpSF0
— Mr Ngwenya (@therealpsyfo) April 15, 2015
Amidst all this absurdity are the the think-pieces. Even more absurd. People are dying and the internet can’t help but churn out click-bait disguised as smart analysis. “THE ECONOMIC CHARTS UNDERLYING THE XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS!!!“, “HOW WHITE PEOPLE CREATED XENOPHOBIA!!!” [sidenote: there are some legit ones like this and this] It’s like we do not know what to make of this, we haven’t got the answers, we’re clueless. People are being killed and we don’t know what to do about it. We know the violence will eventually die down but we also know that it’ll probably pop up again in a few months. We’re powerless and this government doesn’t seem to care, they seem to treat this more like an international Relations embarrassment than a humanitarian crisis. This makes me numb and I don’t know what to do about it.