Before 1994, immigrants in South Africa have been killed simply for their being in the country. South Africa currently has one of the highest murder rates, including xenophobic attacks in the world. It is one of the most dangerous places to live in the world, and six of its cities rank at the top 10 dangerous cities.
The cause of the high murder rate and xenophobic attacks in the country has been linked to apartheid and poverty.
South Africans continuously attack immigrants because they believe that immigrants like Nigerians are taking over their jobs and making them jobless.
Xenophobia in the country manifests in various ways ranging from physical attacks to harassments and killing. Attackers make no distinction between the poor and rich, legal, and illegal migrants.
Nigeria’s Role during the Apartheid Era
During the Apartheid era, Nigeria was foremost in supporting anti-apartheid movements. The Nigerian government even issued passports to help South Africans travel abroad.
At the end of the era, South African businesses partnered with Nigerians alongside other foreigners to boost the economy of the country. In 2011, over 24,000 Nigerians were living in South Africa.
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Why do South Africans hate Nigerians? | Xenophobic attacks
Apart from the perceived feelings that foreigners like Nigeria are taking over jobs meant for South Africans, one other significant issue that has spurned the hatred between both nations is the increased Nigerian organized crime groups which are involved in illegal drug trafficking in South Africa.
Furthermore, the two countries are now at loggerheads for positions at multilateral organizations. Over 40,000 Nigerians do business in South Africa. However, over 315 South African companies have significant positions in Nigeria.
The struggles between both countries in business has increased competition and severely worsened relations. So the people of South Africa now believe that Nigerians and other foreigners are depriving them of what is rightfully theirs.
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The latest problem came as a reaction to the news of the death of a fellow driver who was allegedly killed by Nigerian drug dealers. Although there are still ongoing investigations on the issue, locals attacked looted and burned foreign-owned shops across the country. Within the last 24 hours, more people have last their home and properties. Some have lost their lives.
The government of South Africa remains on the sidelines in this glaring problem. The Nigerian mission in South Africa has only released ‘rhetorics’ and mission statements. Even the peacekeeping missions between both countries have been done over and over again. But the Xenophobic attacks keep returning. No concrete steps have been taken to make sure that Xenophobia becomes a thing of the past.
The questions in the heart of most Nigerians are this – Should Nigerians leave South Africa and return home? Many Nigerians left their home country in search of greener pastures. So, coming back to Nigeria where social strife, warfare, and economic problems reign comes with its set of challenges.
Is Leaving a Wise Choice?
A Bangladesh national, whose home was looted in Alexandria last Tuesday said that if only the government could provide transportation, he would instead go home and work in a factory(lower than his present status) than stay and receive threats to his life
Moving brings on a new set of problems. Relocating to the home country where nothing is waiting is almost terrible. But staying in the country may lead to the loss of more lives if there is nothing done. How should Nigerians react? What should be done? Is the answer nowhere in sight?