Crisis…What Crisis?

Focus on Xenophobia
Crisis…what crisis?
by David Bullard

Before I got axed from the Sunday Times I wrote a couple of columns commenting on President Mbeki’s rather dismissive attitude towards Zimbabwean immigrants. He once made a remark along the lines of ”they are here so get used to it”. I argued that we owed Zimbabweans fleeing from a despotic regime rather more than that. Unless they were absorbed into society, given identity documents and their talents utilized we were in for big trouble.

Governments don’t like to be told what to do by journalists and that’s partly why I am no longer writing for the Sunday Times I suspect and why I am unable to find employment with any other newspaper.

I take no delight in being proven right over these past two weeks. The mayhem in the informal settlements is reminiscent of the 1980’s with the difference that in the 1980’s people were fighting for their freedom. That still didn’t excuse the necklacings and the kangaroo courts set up to decide if somebody was guilty of being a ”traitor”. Today’s situation is altogether more frightening and irrational.

Or is it?



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4 Responses to “Crisis…What Crisis?”

  1. Karen Lotter Says:

    Oh the mighty Dave Bullard with his in-depth insight into South Africa’s pain!

    (He just couldn’t resist the touches of self pity and “I told you so’s.”).

    But I’ve been wondering – people have been complaining about the amakwerekwere for years – but nobody went out and killed them – there must have been a match that started this veldfire. It did not just combust on its own.

    My suspicions became more focussed when Morgan Tsvangirai appeared with buses to take people home. (How did he organise it so quickly?)

    One presumes these grateful people will all vote for him.

    And we all know and understand, even if Mr Bullard doesn’t that a mob is mindless – it runs on its own power. All you need is the right climate, a whispering campaign and an agent provocateur.

    Once the deed is done the members of the mob, often ashamed of their deeds, will rationalise what they’ve done by repeating the mantra of the “script”.

  2. xulu Says:

    One wonders if this is a rather contrite ‘I told you so’ by Mr.Bullard.

  3. shafinaaz Says:

    We’re a bunch of wimps, us South Africans, especially when it comes to being faced with that bitter pill of reason that points a bony finger in our direction. We choke on that pill. Victims of choice, we are easily drawn to demonising the select few who will speak against the comforts of a deluded psyche. While the xenophobic attacks should indeed have no place in our or any society, they did not appear overnight. That is the first delusion we have to rid ourselves of. Someone with political or mischievous agenda did not wake up one morning with a naughty idea in mind and strike that apparent first match. Some fires ignite immediately, burn long established bridges and then die. Others are slow-burning and insiduous, they maim everything in their paths, and the smoke clouds can be viewed throughout the planet. Xenophobia, is such a thing. And we are all to blame at some level. The disaster management taken on by civil society units across the country are most commendable. Discussions have been launched, solidarity motions engaged. But the state has yet to take a sustainable stance on this grave issue; it should never have happened in the first place, and must be made to never recur. Power cuts with Eskom, built of multiple shortsightedness were the least of our worries, if what we’re seeing now is a loss of humanity rife at levels of the crowd where ‘talks’ aren’t going to have immediate effect unless policies are redeemed, re-written, re-established. To say that the mob will rationalise is deluded. It needs to be fed, and riot manipulators sussed out. Otherwise, the tantrum’s will resurface. The collective psyche needs mending. There’s big lessons for us in the happenings of the past few weeks. All sectors of our society have an active role to play in ensuring that we dont have to pay school fees with more lives in the future.

  4. goolam_d Says:

    Rule no 1 ~ Blame the government.
    Rule no 2 ~ Blame the government in lieu of some better liberal form of enlightenment.
    Rule no 3 ~ Never apply the same broad sweeping Judgements to yourself.
    Rule no 4 ~ Always apply evoke western theory as ideology and principles.
    Rule no 5 ~ Make the main black guy guilty of everything.

    Therefore, David doesn’t get axed because he imagined a world where he so proudly found African society lacking capacity for enlightenment, or that there are better writers (following the market principle of better for cheaper), nevermind that he very expectedly found the natives wanting at the time of colonial expansion. He gets axed because, like the xenophobic violence, it is symptomatic of the governments failure to do things the way he would and educated blacks like President Mbeki not recognising his superior foreign talents. Considering his article … I wonder how he would do things?

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