By Frank Opara
Bongani is a South African who used to be my friend while in the U.K. Usually, during tea breaks at our work place, he told me stories of ‘small-small’ violent attacks by his country men and women on foreigners, especially Nigerians which happened on daily basis in his country. He was never bored telling me how much an average South African loathes a Nigerian.
His reasons when I demanded explanations were that Nigerian’s are bunch of noisy, bouncy, swashbuckling people. I have yet to grasp how this is an offence, though. However, I didn’t hesitate to ask him why I still remained his friend, despite these misgivings for Nigerians. And his lame answer was that, I am a different Nigerian. Balderdash!
In fact, this is a problem of many so called sister African countries when you find yourself outside the shores of this land. The caveat is that, be hesitant to introduce yourself to them because they are easily put off by the fact that you’re a Nigerian.
A couple of times, I received an unfriendly treatment from these so-called brothers and sisters, just because I’m a Nigerian. Not even our popular Nollywood films which they massively patronize and enjoy could bring us some love from them.
Though, there are few ladies from these sister countries who prefer Nigerian men to theirs. Once, I asked a Zimbabwean girl why she preferred to go out with a Nigerian guy despite the stigma they have deliberately ‘planted’ on us out of hate.
Her reply was that she likes the buccaneering mentality of an average Nigerian. Their nerve to succeed under adverse circumstances makes them more attractive. Nice one!
Maybe, Nigerians who are being killed in faraway South Africa as I’m writing this, in the worst barbaric form, which the western world has tagged in psychological term ‘xenophobic’, exhibit this ‘buccaneering’ attitude.
The truth is that, like my friend Bongani confirmed, these killings have been going on for a long while unnoticed. It is just that the emergence of mobile phones with digital camera and social media have brought it to light.
But it is unfortunate that the South African government has not dimmed it fit to act decisively on a crucial issue like this one. An adroit government that has massive business investments in countries like Nigeria whose citizens are being killed in the most primitive manner will not hesitate to address sensitive issues like this one with all seriousness and urgency, with full knowledge of the underlying consequences of inaction.
Any attack in any form by aggrieved Nigerians on both MTN and DSTV which are all South African companies, in the form of reprisal, will definitely hurt their government and will receive zero sympathy from many of us. The sooner they call their citizens (who apparently are timid and intimidated by the presence of foreigners) to order, the better.
Unfortunately, here in Nigeria, we have a government that has not been able to protect its citizens here at home, and now being saddled with the same problem in a foreign land. If not, I believe we’ve had it up to the tip of our hair with ‘xenophobic’ South Africans.
After all, this is not what the great Nelson Mandela of the blessed memory fought for!
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.