Xenophobia kills Africa!By the middle of June xenophobic attacks had died down. Paulina Mohale and Rolly Xipu visited a Numsa-organised company, Safeline, in Johannesburg where foreign workers are working alongside South Africans.
When we arrived at the company, the production manager gave us one hour to discuss the xenophobia issue with workers. The factory is situated on a big plot. It makes brake pads 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The majority of the workers live on site with their children.
The 120-strong workforce, 52 of whom are Numsa members welcomed us. They talked about their fears and their worries.They welcomed us saying it made them feel relieved from being scared of each other."I am happy because I am an African," one worker told us. "It is not correct for Africans to be divided.""We did not choose to have black skins, we are all Africans, our brothers are killing us without reason.
I wish that Africans unite like Europeans and stop accusing each other."Debrah, a Zimbabwean told us that her "wounds are like the morning breeze. It never breaks any bone but when I think of my children growing up in this situation, my heart bleeds.
We came to this country with skills to share with our fellow South Africans. We hoped to work and live together in an environment free of all forms of discrimination. Xenophobia kills Africa. We need to work together without discrimination of colour or language," she said with tears on her face.Vincent Mashava added, â€œWe hope that this (xenophobia) must come to an end so that we can live our life free in this democratically free countryâ€.
Numsa shop steward Prince Ramashia from Mpumalanga had the last word: "We commit ourselves to forgive each other and to work as comrades against the unfair treatment of employees. We say down with xenophobia down!"
Just think of itâ€¦
Just think of itâ€¦
Judy Rahaba Madumo
Think of thisâ€¦Nigerians, Congolese, Ghanaians and Mozambicans Were and are still expatriated off the streets of everywhere, day in day out.Nowadays they never even reach Lindelani alive.
Think of thisâ€¦Never ever do you find African-Americans in the loot to be deportedIs it because our cops think Americans could not leave their shores on false passports even if 9/11 exposed a plain picture?Or what?
Think of thisâ€¦Filipinos Chinese, Italians, Americans, Hollanders,Never do you find them squashed in truckloads or compacted to ashes in their flesh.
Think of thisâ€¦Africans residing in this motherland, legal or illegal, As economic refugeesAs political refugeesAs asylum seekers whose situation back home is appallingA filthy term is stamped all over their brows.
Maybe we should think 'Cause we are so terribly biased, terribly lethal, so full of nonsenseThat harmonious co-existence with black people of African origin is just a sudden distant past and a past we now think was never.
Maybe we should come to think â€¦Some of us unexpectedly came out of their xenophobic closets
Maybe we should thinkSome of us beg for more scrutiny into the conscious and identity questionBecause we still see too much black in black people of African origin.
Maybe we hear too much different natural vernaculars speaking in native languages far distinct from the 11 official languages, which now minuses even Se-Tshonga, Se-Venda, Se-any tongue ostracized by violent xenophobic attackers!
Think of thisâ€¦South Africans express xenophobia Only toward other African-looking faces, yetXenophobia against anyone is not right, and Xenophobia against people of European, Asian or whatever root is wrongXenophobia against anyone non-South African is not right; it is wrong and must be condemned from the level of babyhood to adulthood.
Remember to think of thisâ€¦
In Krugersdorp,Malawian is beaten to death by notorious Lindelani security company personnel. In Milnerton,Angolan citizens driven away From their homes. In Zandspruit,Zimbabwean properties looted And homes destroyed.
In Benoni,Mozambican nationals used assubjects for police dog-training. In Limpopo,15 000 Zim farmworkers are ordered off the land by â€œnative affairsâ€
And now thisâ€¦
Since when are Africans illegal on their own continent? How much more has this to do with the 3rd force conspiracy?Of criminality, capitalism, corruption, anarchy, stupidity and paranoia?Just how shallow is our Africanism!Just how hollow is our ubuntu!Just how morbid is our dislike for indigenous people from above Limpopo and of Asian origin?Just think of itâ€¦
How much more humiliation must our people in particular endure before proper immigration systems are put in place?Just also think and then reasonâ€¦
Xenophobia horrorNumsa comrades speak out on the xenophobic attacksAs xenophobic attacks spread across the country during May, Numsa comrades responded through e-mail condemning the attacks, trying to analyse the root causes and proposing solutions. What follows is a selection of some of the responses. What do you say?
Dear comradesXenophobia must be condemned at all costs with all its manifestations. This vindicates the position that we have had a long time ago that hostels must be turned into family units, the department of housing in Gauteng must share the blame for what is happening.
I also think that we should expect more from Numsa leaders, to come to the office today and be asked; "What are you doing?" when people were running down Bree Street is unacceptable. We know that the third force lived and operated from hostels, and we also know that the "lumpen proletariat" can easily be used for destructive agendas.
No one can deny that some Zulu people live in hostels and they might be behind the attacks, but to deny that this can be a fertile ground for criminals to further their aims is short-sighted to say the least. And to generalise that all Zulus are behind these attacks, smacks of stupidity.
In Alex, and other areas we are faced with a practical problem of inadequate delivery of services by our government, and the corrupt allocation of scarce resources by authorities etc. How do we practically deal with the manisfestations of all these unfortunate practices?Cedric Gina, Numsa second vice president
Dear comradesI don't think there can be any excuse or justification for what is happening right now. To kill innocent people won't create any jobs , nor is it a solution for unemployment. It also won't bring back women who are stolen by foreign men. (part of the arguments that these people use to justify what they are doing).
One can just imagine what these people are going through. In all this it's always women and children who suffer the most. As a South African, I feel very ashamed of what is happening. Many of the countries where these foreigners are coming from assisted us in the Apartheid years.
These gangsters (in the absence of a better word) know that unemployment is a big issue for us and they play on people's vulnerability by saying foreigners steal our jobs. These foreigners are just as poor as we are. We shouldn't blame our unemployment crisis on others.
We should stop being intolerant of others, because intolerance leaves us in pursuit of revenge.Foreigners are not the enemy. I think educating our members on xenophobia is long overdue. It's important to make our voices heard, because our silence might mean that we support what's happening.Christine Olivier, Shop steward Actaris
Dear comrades Eddie Webster, Rob Lambert and Andries Bezuidenhout write: â€œFaced with insecurity, persons tend to retreat into the familiar â€“ their country, their neighbourhood, their home, their family â€“ and sometimes their â€˜raceâ€™ (their ethnic group, and their religion, etc.).
Indeed, at times when the world faced similar levels of insecurity, we saw the rise of some of the worst atrocities of human history.â€ Now whatâ€™s happening in South Africa? The victims of capitalism, the unemployed, the poor, the homeless, the lumpen proletariat and so on, are reacting to insecurity imposed by the capitalist market.
But, their extreme reactions must be condemned. Xenophobia sometimes is just pure criminal conduct.Unemployment is a necessary condition for and a direct creation of capitalist accumulation. Capitalists use the large reserve army of the unemployed to keep wages low.
The high rate of immigration into SA due to socio-politico-economic conditions elsewhere, increases this reserve army. At the same time capitalists have increased their profits through workplace restructuring, bringing in workers through labour brokers or imposing short-term contracts, casualisation, subcontracting.
The solution is to intensify real struggles against the dominant, rampant system of capitalism. This requires us to mobilise communities, largely the working class and victims of capitalism so that they replace their inward-looking response with an outward-looking, far-sighted response: the revolutionary struggle to deepen, advance and defend the national democratic revolution and socialism.Alex Mashilo, Numsa national education secretary
Dear comradesThese attacks on foreign nationals must be condemned in the strongest way. We should go beyond making a statement in condemning this actions.Amongst those community members you will find Numsa members or any other trade union members in South Africa.
Are we doing enough as Numsa or unions to educate or mobilise our members to understand our vanguard revolutionary role that we should play in our communities? A community struggle is a working class struggle.
What are we doing now in our Shop Stewards Councils and Factory General meetings, given the fact that this disease is rolling from one place to the other?Let's start the engagements amongst ourselves in our industries or factories.Andrew Chirwa (shop steward, Ford)
Dear comradesThe brutality of capitalism and the remnants of colonial ferocity on our continent lie at the heart of the inhumane treatment meted out against fellow human beings in South Africa by what can at best be defined as the anarchic action of the lumpen proletariat.
As internationalists and conscious cadres we should seize the possibility of sharply raising the class consciousness of our impoverished people through redirecting their energies in the class battle against unemployment, poverty, high food prices and all other exploitative forms of capitalist mis-rule.
Historically the formations of the national liberation movement and mass democratic movement were capable of redirecting any misguided anger of the masses.
Now is the time for the democratic and progressive forces to provide leadership to the dastardly acts against fellow Africans. We need only remind ourselves how the movement directed the anger of our people when racists assassinated Cde Chris Hani.
Without apportioning blame, we must all be concerned that at the start of the chaos which erupted in Gauteng, the collective national leadership of the ANC, SACP, COSATU, SANCO, SACC, ANCYL, ANCWL, YCL, MKVA, etc could not move into the hot spots to engage with our own people.
Does this not perhaps suggest a collective inability to connect with the masses which for a long drawn out period found expression in the demobilization of the masses?Public condemnation may not rescue the situation nor would government-established panels and commissions bring a lasting resolution to the underlying causes of this chaotic situation.
Our revolutionary duty at this juncture might well be to redirect the energies of the proletariat to;* Confront the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor in South Africa,* Intensify class struggle to reverse the benefits and gains that accrued to Capital in the first decade of democracy and to ensure that the second decade of our freedom translates into substantial and concrete benefits for the working class.
Fight against the mobilization of a surplus in our country which creates a serious social deficit as expressed in the lack of decent housing, quality health care, affordable and safe public transport, joblessness and all the many other ills in our society.
Socialism is the Future Build it Now!Karl Cloete, (Numsa Official/Sacp Western Cape Provincial Chairperson â€“ Writing in his personal capacity)
Dear comradesWe will have to acknowledge the following post-national liberation struggles;* That national liberation on its own has not dealt effectively with decades of colonialism with its attendant consequences of tribalism, narrow chauvinism and racism,* That whereas we should appreciate a diversity of cultures, traditions and backgrounds, this should be used as a source of strength rather than to pursue narrow ethnic tendencies.
We must forge together to build an African movement that appreciates who we are, and where we come from as a nation and as Africans,* We can only achieve real freedom and independence if we pursue the struggle for social justice and economic emancipation.Silumko Nondwangu, Numsa general secretary
Dear comradesThose who blame poverty, unemployment, and a loss of hope for the wave of xenophobia have it right.
When people are on the bottom of the economic and social ladder they will do almost anything to survive, yet despite the daily hardships and the hand to mouth existence it is surprising how well they adapt to their almost hopeless existence.
This is the key to their survival strategies, the small and often insignificant glimmer of hope that provides a degree of optimism. But weaken the capacity to survive and the hope is the first thing shoved out the window.
The poor will, as they have done, look around and recognize that over competition for resources and in particular jobs and enterprise is the one thing they can do something about by removing much of the competition.
This would be very difficult if the local populace was a singular ethnic group, but when there is a significant presence of other ethnic groups it is natural and historic to remove them from the competition. The history of ethnic conflict is the history of all conflict, major to minor, from the stone age to the modern era.
It is therefore all about access to resources, be it oil, slaves, labour, gold, food or jobs. There are only two ways to resolve such a conflict the first is to beat the uprising into submission and the other is to implement programmes to overcome the lack of resources.South Africa urgently needs a good dose of socialism. We also need some help with the refugee crisis.
At the end of the Second World War, most countries in Europe were wracked with hatred, destruction, unemployment, high inflation, widows and orphans. It was the many social programmes such as the Womb to Tomb Act in Britain that provided incomes and jobs to the jobless, the nationalization of major resources such as the railways and the coal mines that provided many jobs, agricultural subsidies provided food and rural employment.
Similar programmes were implemented throughout Europe that increased the infrastructure for the enormous economic growth that has been the fundamental driving force behind the wealth, unity and peace within the European Union. We need a programme that encompasses the following:*Reduce Interest rates and stop targeting inflation through interest rate hikes.Recognition of most or many refugees.
Call on the UN to create safe havens such as refugee camps. * Nationalise railways and much of public transport. * Introduce the Basic Income Grant * Speed up Land Redistribution * Grant subsidies and extend technical and marketing support to food producers * Grant subsidies for essential industries and non profit employers * Provide free education to at least graduate level * Restructure Eskom to maintain it as a parastatal, but also to allow private providers and distributors.
If we had full and sustainable employment with living wages none of this would have happened.We cannot expect the private sector (the capitalists) to provide additional employment when there is a downturn in their sales and their budgets are stretched by usurious interest rates.
The only answer is massive state involvement to create the necessary employment. Greg Stanley, Toyota, Durban
Afrika Tshipembe! Ngoho ni khou tungufhadza
Ndo ri ndi tshi bebwa Mune wanga vha nkhira dzina vha ri â€œndi Zwiitwaho shangoni ri a talelaâ€. A tho ngo tou li lilela lini.
Zwi tshi ya phanda vhaambi vha ri muthu u tevhedza zwine dzina lawe la amba zwone.Ndo no di vhona mboni nnzhi na zwi no kombodza mato zwenezwi ndi tshi khou di tshila, nda lingedza u tanzwa mato, fhedzi zwinwe-vho ndo pfa zwi sa kondelelei.
Munwe musi ndi tshi khou ralo u livha thekisini dzi no wanala kha tshila tshitarata tshihulwane tsha â€˜Mudzhondoroâ€™ tshi no itwa Noord, nda tou kha-kha-kha na munwe wa Pholisa. Lo ntalula kha vhanzhi la ralo u mmbudzisa vhubvo hanga, tshifhatuwo tshalo tsho vhifhelwa nga vengo, lukanda lwa khofheni lu tshi nga kani-ha lwo fhiswa nga tshila tshidolo tshi no itwa â€œtshikwatula mazenngeâ€.
Ndi afho ndi tshi vhudziswa arali ndi mubvannda, nne nda landula. Ha pfi kha ndi bvise tshibugwana (ID), â€˜thi divhi uri ngavhe ndo vha ndi si natsho ilo duvha ho vha hu tshi do iteaâ€™ni kha nne. Ndi tshi li sumbedza tshibugu itsho la sumbedza u sa fushea, la nkhalifhela li tshi ralo u vhonelelwa, la ri namusi ID yanga i tshi sumba u ri ndi wa fhano, a hu kundwe khotsi anga vha tshi bva Dzimbahwe, (U sa divha u ri a li faedzwi na Mune wanga).
Kana lo vha li tshi vho tou toda thoho yanga nazwino, nne nda mbo ri khalo â€œu ri ndi vhonale zwauri ndi wa fhano ndo vha ndo tea ndi na khofheni ho fhalalaho sa havho na.â€ Ndo mbo di poswa tshibugwana tshanga nda rwa ndi tshi sendedza.Ili dwadze line vheâ€™ ndi â€œXENOPHOBIAâ€ li khou tea u fheliswa nga u tavhanya.
Vho no vhuya vha zwi humbula vho u ri arali ha nga swika tshifhinga tshine tshanduko dza khou itea dza do ri ita uri ri yo toda thuso kha manwe mashango hu do iteaâ€™ni kha rine? Ri do sala ri si na hune ra humbela hone thuso. Muthu ndi a humbula la matshelo.
Ho vhuya ha vha na tshifhinga tshe Mavhuru a fhano a bva fulo a tshi yo vhulaha Vharema vha fhano vho shavhelaho Zambia, fhedzi Vhadzulapo vha Zambia vha ri la da afha li a kovhela, vha dzhenelela iyo nndwa sa u nga ndi yavho, Mavhuru a huma o shona. Rine namusi ri vho tou vha shakulisa ro hangwa mapfunda avho a mulovha.
Vhahashu, kha ri edzise nga ndila dzothe u vhuisa tshirunzi khathihi na u khwinisa shango lashu, Aa!Zwiitwaho Raidani, administrator in Numsa's Ekurhuleni region
Summary of the above story in TshiVenda
Shame on you, SZouth AfricaMy name, Zwiitwaho, means â€œincidents that are happening in this worldâ€. Once I was confronted by a policeman in Noord Str, Johannesburg, who suspected that I was a foreigner.
I donâ€™t know what would have happened if I didnâ€™t have an ID book with me that day because after showing him my ID, he insisted that my father was from Zimbabwe, (Oh, he didnâ€™t know my father has a lighter complexion).
Then I asked him if I should have the damaged cancerous skin like his, so that I should look like a real South African?What will happen if we face a situation that will force us to look for help from neighbouring countries in future?
When exiled South Africans fled to Zambia, the Apartheid regime followed them using their helicopters and ended up killing at least three people. But Zambians intervened and supported the South Africans by chasing the helicopters away.
But today we have forgotten we are the ones who are doing the killings and chasing those Zambians and other fellow Africans!