Are the oppressed becoming the oppressors?

On April 21st, 2015, posted in: Academic, English, Grade 12, Grades, Matric, News by

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Philasande Mzalisi wrestles with recent Xenophobic Attacks and had her letter published in the Cape Times.

One can only imagine the moment of pride and joy that our political ancestors felt, after the successful movement that was started by born-frees who are attending the University of Cape Town. The movement was one of the small steps being taken to try abolish ‘White supremacy’ and to encourage equality.

Ironically, a week later South Africans had turned their backs on foreign nationals. They started killing and beating them up, just like the Apartheid government they hated did to them 21 years before.

This xenophobic chaos, or ‘Afrophobic’ chaos began in 1994.  But the South African leaders always managed to stop it before it escalated.

However in 2015 it was stirred by King Goodwill Zwelithini. He stood in front of 10 000 South Africans, and suggested that foreigners return to their home countries to stop ‘inconveniencing’ locals by taking their jobs.

The unemployed, uneducated, and poor now had someone else to blame for their laziness, besides the government. They started to ‘remove’ the foreigners in their communities in the most brutal ways. Kind of like how the Apartheid government did to them in the past, with their ‘police dogs’ and ‘sjamboks’.

In support of Mmusi Maimane’s words that South Africa is a broken society being led by a broken leadership, King Goodwill Zwelithini waited before correcting those whom he claims had misinterpreted his words.

Instead, he defended himself, and blamed the media.

The president did not say anything until after a week when seven people had been killed, some beaten, and others had left the country, leaving behind all they had built and created to make a better living.

It seems that the government and the King could have done so much more to protect our foreign nationals.  Their reaction showed a careless lack of urgency.

After the struggles, battles, and oppressions the blacks have been through, one would think that ‘black consciousness’, ‘#BlackFridays’ and most importantly ‘Black lives matter’ would be the three mottos that every black person lives by.

Clearly they are not.

After all that we have been through, are we still living by the divisions that were created by our former colonizers?

As a born-free, and a black South African, I am disappointed and angered that we are now contradicting everything our ancestors fought and died for. We should be learning from the past, not repeating it.

Thank you

Philasande Mzalisi
Matric Class
Wynberg Girls’ High School