UKZN STUDENTS SPEAK OUT
Xenophobia in South Africa
The musings of a Zimbabwean postgraduate student at UKZN
by Eslidha Chimedza
The past two weeks, and God knows until when, in South Africa, have been hell for anyone who is not of this land; the so called ”foreigner”. The attacks on foreign nationals has left us turning our heads, looking over our shoulders every few meters, switching off our cell phones in public, in fear of being heard conversing in an unrecognized language. My own language has become taboo in fear of being victimized for not being South African, except when I am in the company of fellow country mates.
Foreigners in South Africa are living the ”witchcraft era” once again, accused of grabbing jobs, benefiting from housing projects meant for locals and the most unforgivable sin as highlighted by e-news, is ”taking our women”. I wonder if ‘apartheid’ is turning in its grave, happy witness to the current chaos. How on earth is burning another man alive, beating people to death, raping women and torturing people with pangas, knobkerries, knives, stones, guns and any object liable to be a weapon, the best way to deal with problems. I will live to retell the fear that I felt and saw, written on the faces of fellow foreign students, as we took all of this in each and everyday from the television, newspapers and internet. Each night, we huddle together in the TV room to see this happening to people like us, wondering when it will be our turn.