Why Afrophobia is the most senseless thing ever

07 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Why Afrophobia is the most senseless thing ever A march in protest against wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa in this file picture. — Online picture

The Sunday News

Dr Obert Moses Mpofu

I have always struggled with coming to terms with the reasoning behind Afrophobia. Afrophobia, Afro-scepticism, or Anti-African sentiment and loosely defined as prejudice, hostility, discrimination, or racism towards people and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. This phenomenon is more known as xenophobia and has been quite a topical one in recent years.

Whatever name you call it, its effects are always quite similar and there is no denying that it is undeniable. 

Prejudices against Africans and people of African descent have a long history, dating back to the Atlantic slave trade. Key to understanding this scourge is how it has always been engineered by those who have sought to undermine the people of this continent. 

There seems to be an agenda to continue this trend. During the most difficult and darkest times in our history, there were those Africans who were manipulated by our subjugators to hunt down and collect their own kind for enslavement. This has been the agenda all along, divide and conquer. And indeed, we were conquered. 

In as much as our enslavers were guilty of committing perhaps the gravest crime in human history, they were not without assistance from our own kind. We also played a part in our own enslavement. Now at times, we seem to be playing a similar role that we may look back with embarrassment in the near future. This should serve as an important lesson and discourage Afrophobia.

Division is the easiest form of completely destroying a people. The imperialists found it easy to conquer us by carving up the African continent into several pieces. Borders were not known to us before the colonialist came. We would move and engage freely with each other and among ourselves. 

Whoever convinced us that we were divided did a great disservice to us. Black on black hate has actually been used as a tool to distract us from what is important while our resources are looted and pillaged. 

The so-called development by the imperialists was such that there is and would be a dependence syndrome wherein or people would be held in bondage to their capitalist monopoly. And so, as the imperialists effected their policies on us, they deliberately left out some regions without much development so that we would depend heavily on them. 

For instance, in the development trajectory introduced by the imperialists, South Africa was favoured and most of the resources from surrounding nations. It is during this colonial era that South Africa became the hub of the colonialists. Up till this date, there seems to be forces working from that region to maintain the status quo. There has even been talk of a secession by a predominantly white state in the Western Cape. 

These are all efforts meant to continue the agenda of imperialism. Thanks to the efforts of the ANC which has remained steadfast in defence of the gains of our liberation. Yes, it is “our” liberation, for without these colonial borders we are one. 

So, what has then happened as a result of us turning on each other is that, black empowerment has come at a slower pace than it should have. While we have been throwing senseless accusations on each other and attacking our fellow African brothers and sisters, the former colonialists have continued with their white capitalist monopolist tendencies. 

As a matter of fact, they seem to be faring very well. It is unthinkable that after sharing the pain of colonialism and having worked and stood together to fend off colonialism, we are now divided by petty things such as accusations of “stealing jobs” from our fellow brothers and sisters. It is such actions that have made the economic progression of independent Africa agonisingly slow. 

So as fellow Africans have moved around into other African countries in search of employment, they have been following the trail of how our resources have been moved and distributed along the value chain. For example, South Africa has the largest gold, steel, platinum and lithium refineries and processing plants in the region and on the continent. Countries like Zimbabwe have some of the largest deposits of these resources in the world. So, there is evidently a symbiotic and complementary relationship between these two economies. 

So, when Zimbabweans do move to South Africa in search of employment, they’re actually following their resources there and just as others from the so many countries that make up this our continent move across borders, they are simply tapping and benefiting from the abundant resources of our mother continent. 

Africa’s resources should benefit us all as Africans. Ideally, this should be the basis of the development of all our countries and should spur our economies forward and immensely benefit our people, but there comes in Afrophobia which negatively weighs down on our progress.

There are forces that come in and encourage hate among us. The hate is driven towards ensuring that there is no cohesion or unity of purpose among our people. We should by now have succeeded in uniting Africa for a common purpose, for we are a people that have a long history of freely moving around and interacting with each other without restriction. 

Several countries in the region are waking and warming up to this reality that we are one people. Botswana and Namibia removed passport requirements for their citizens early last year. There are also plans to scrap the passport requirements between Zimbabwe and Botswana. This is something which should have been done a long time ago. 

Our people should not be defined by the colonial borders anymore. If we truly achieved independence then we should by now have destroyed all the impediments that came with colonialism and one of such prominent impediments is the issue of borders and the creation of barriers between our people. 

Our people have been fragmented for too long, it is high time that they are reintegrated and we move as one. 

We need to revisit our history and ensure that the upcoming generations are conscientised of the importance of unity among us Africans and also made aware of the dangers of disunity. This is of the utmost importance as we strive for a better, fully emancipated African continent. With unity of purpose, so much can and will be achieved by the people of this great continent. 

Dr Obert Moses Mpofu is an academic and the Secretary-General of Zanu-PF. He writes in his own capacity.


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