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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, May 19, 2008

On Hate

Why do they hate us I asked him? The answer was long winded and convoluted but there was no denial. My South African host on my last visit had struggled to make sense of the many incidences of unjustifiable rudeness, aggression and verbal attacks I had received from many South Africans in shops, restaurants, spas, hotels and even in polite company. Most was from black South Africans. In fact I quickly got used to the scowls, frowns and baleful glowering at simple enquires; my Nigerian friend tells me I fit the profile, prosperous looking black foreigner from (impale them all now) Nigeria!

I am of course too studied on the issue of xenophobia and prejudice to accept such simplistic explanations nor am I unknowing enough to think this to be a uniquely South African problem but I have always felt a little less safe, a little less welcome in South Africa. Perhaps the problem is my expectation and the unravelling of such.

Here are my friend Pamela's thoughts on the issue. If South Africa is to host the world at the FIFA world cup in 2 years, she must begin to seriously address this issue.

15 comments:

Asabe said...

Sometimes i ask myself that question, why Nigerian are being 'preyed' upon all over the world? Everywhere the Nigeria goes to there is always an unpleasant story to tell,why! why!! why!!! South Africa of all countries anyway it is not their fault but one thing i no is that there is no way South Africa is going to host the whole (FIFA)with this horrible hatred amongst them.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious our fellow African brothers and sisters in S.A. still feel short changed in the midst of plenty.

Therefore they exhibit a kind of transfer of aggression at whoever,kith or kin, includng foreigners be they Nigerians,Zimbabweans(who are at the receiving end now)
who have come into their space to compete and take what they feel belongs to them.
It is the same aggression they have against their non-black countrymen and influential black South Africans too.
Funmi,you were lucky you were only scowled at.
My own personal experience in 2002, in far away Europe:a well known black South African artist having gotten drunk,did not have a better phrase than to introduce me to a fellow Caucasian guest than to call me " meet my Nigerian Friend, King of Fraud"
I understood. I just took a walk to another section of the space we were. I was not ready for a fight.

Lucky Dube lost his life in the hands of his fellow black brothers that he was fighting for thru his songs(I have his picture in front of me now) May his soul rest in peace.

Black South Africans need a fast scheme of integration. How that will be I don't know.

JD said...

This is indeed quite scary! I was in Jo'burg 2 months ago and always felt I had to look over my shoulder because I was concious I speak differently from South Africans... Now, I have had to cancel a planned trip there in June to promote the South African release of my novel 'Unbridled'. I have spoken to my publisher there and explained that it is way to risky for me to be there... It doesn't make sense, this hatred and mindless harrasments from fellow Africans.

Sigh!

JD

plastiQ said...

They feel short changed? and transferred aggression? They really need to be more sincere, the average Nigerian that they are beefing is actually in their shoes. The only difference is the Nigerian looks inwards and says 'What can I do to better myself?'. Hate is hate, maybe all the years they spent under persecution and similar treatments is finally manifesting. There is absolutely no excuse for what they have done, the sins of the fathers will....

pam said...

Well to my extreme shock the Nigerian Govt has already taked some action. President Yardua is meeting with Mbeki soon and help is being mobilized for Nigerians whom have taken refuge in the Embassy.

Actually the issue of harrassment of Nigerians was discussed very recently in the house of assembly (nigerian) Perhaps that is why they are so fast to act.

It is a shame President Mbeki only opened his mouth to comment after one week of killing. Zuma did a better job.

pam said...

So at least now we know its not just Nigerians....

safari chic said...

what do expect from years of oppression& apartheid these people have a serious inferiority complex.

Anonymous said...

Apartheid has left many scars in the minds of black South Africans, which need to be treated, the xenophobic attacks are just a symptom of them. Its been almost 15years since we had our freedom but we still plagued by inferiority complex, our minds are still oppressed, we still allow what the master told us, that black was wack...and poverty is making this whloe situation worse, because all that fustration is now directed at the wrong people. I doubt this anything personal against foreigners, but its an indication of how the government has failed its people, sadly it is at the expense of our fellow African brothers and sisters and it should stop before more lives are lost. As for the World Cup, if things continue to go this way, maybe FIFA should take it away, maybe we dont deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Bad belle, pure and simple. We have IT, they don't. What's IT? A huge dose of self-esteem, even arrogance. That in-your-face Nigerianness which seriously pisses off both friend and foe because they can't figure out why we're so cocksure.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting, actually, that it is the people of South Africa who sanction this violence, and the government trying to 'stop' the violence. When Ghana-must-go happened in the 80s, the Government of Nigeria, not the people, were the ones who sanctioned the deportations. Same with Nigeria-must-go which happened decades before then. And when we had some of the Liberians being kicked out of Ivory Coast, again, it was the government and not the people doing this.Says a lot about the people of South Africa.

Deafening silence in the face of madness.

nneoma said...

first, xenophobic tensions, i hear, have been festering in south africa for a while. i just wonder why all of the sudden it has exploded to this level. second, this is not unique to the south african experience, everywhere, immigrants are blamed for the worst of evils, true or concocted. third, i agree with the second anonymous - apartheid has left and indelible scar in the psyche of black south africans and these recent events may just be a symptom of it. however, what baffles me is why they blame their problems on other africans, rather the the posterity of those white south african who perpetuated this unjust system. anyway, i dont condone violence towards any group. i think in the same manner the Nigerian government (particularly Maduekwe) condemned British Airways for its treatment of Nigerians, they should also speak up on behalf of their citizens in SA.

pyoo wata
the nollywood critique

emmy collins said...

THIS IS NOT ABOUT FASHION AND STYLE BUT VERY IMPORTANT SO PERMIT ME TO COMMENT ON IT

Can someone more knowledgeable than me please intimate me as to what in Jesus name is going on in South Africa and what Mbeki is doing about it.

We blamed the whites and rightly so for the atrocities they perpetuated on blacks during the apartheid days but ironically the blacks are perpetuating ….wait for it….THE SAME ATTROCITIES ON FELLOW BLACKS. This is sad, very sad indeed. I must dare to say that some the white atrocities must have been planned and executed in collaboration with few blacks who were seeking favors from their white masters as the chiefs did during slavery. It is ever so convenient to absorb ourselves of all blame for apartheid and slavery but let the truth be told. This is not me letting the whites off the hook for slavery and apartheid but trying to point out where we the blacks could have played a part in these mayhems. Surely the white South African should hide their heads in sacks for apartheid

I Can’t believe I was this close to visiting last month. With the benefit of hindsight am so absolutely delighted it never came about. I had a prior opening to visit about 3yrs previously but it overlapped with Pitti uomo Fashion exhibition in Florence,Italy and of course I was always gonna choose Pitti as I was so proud to have been invited to showcase with industry heavy weights like Hugo Boss,GFF,Nicole Farhi,Missoni,Versace .Ever since I mulled over what could have been. Beside this was an all expenses paid trip sponsored by I guess London Development Agency or the South African embassy to encourage British based designers to make acquaintance with South African fashion industry.

Just a couple of days ago I requested a South African friend to forward the dates for the South African Fashion week to me and she obliged. This was the response I got from her “hi there, Herewith dates as requested 27 to 30 June 2007 Suncoast Casino and Entertainment Worldates in Durban, Joburg Fashion Week - 23 - 26 July 2008 venue not confirmed”. June was not plausible so I was seriously considering July but presently the chances of that happening depends on how this pans out. I am tempted to say it ain`t gonna happen but I never say never in life so am gonna keep my Nigerian ears to the ground and observe the situation.
This is in excusable so please don`t no one ever try to find excuses.

IF THE WELL MEANING BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS WILL GET ON THE STREETS OF JOHANNESBURG CAPE TOWN, DURBAN,THE SHANTY TOWNS ETC AND MARCH AGAINST THESE SENSELESS BARBARIC ACTS TO CONVINCE ALL THE NATIONS INCLUDING MY HOMELAND OF NIGERIA WHO STOOD STAUNCHLY BEHIND THEM DURING APARTHEID AND WHOSE CITIZENS HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES AT THE RECEIVING END OF THIS XENOPHOBIA THAT THEY ARE NOT INGRATES THEN I WILL BE MOST FLATTERED TO VISIT AND IF THE MARKET IS CONDUCIVE ENOUGH ,CUT A NICHE FOR MYSELF IN IT.
www.emmycollins.com

tps360 said...

This issue is not hard to decipher.Remember the airline saga with Bt airlines? Even if Nigerians do not know why it happened, I believe their “leaders” know.being treated like crap at the mention of nigeria is not shocking as far as I am concerned. Of course such incident was not the first and it won’t be the last. To Oyinbo people, it’s normal and justified to treat Nigerians anyhow. After all, their “leaders” treat them the same if not worse and they seem to be enjoying it. So why should they be enraged by ordinary lack of courtesy when in fact they are a people with history of mental and physical brutalization by their government!

Anonymous said...

In fact i cannot tel you how disheartened i was after reading this, However, i wanted to ask you if you have heard about this gospel singer she sings well ooo and heard one of her songs from this blog http://seunschronicles.blogspot.com/2008/05/friday-song-spiration-1.html, You'ldfind the song there. Its wonderful.. I felt i should let you know and maybe you can find more of her songs and post.. Cheers.

truth said...

Africa's biggest problems always comes from within.

i wish I had a lengthy contribution with clearly-processed solutions to this issue, but I don't. Black South African needs to cut the crap and get busy being as entrepreneurial as Nigerians are. That would fetch them a higher worth than sitting on the curb hating.

it's unfortunate that 'Nigerian' scams are supposedly our undoing. Sometimes I strongly believe a huge number of those scams are from non-Nigerians cashing in on our -ve reputation.

Na wa o.