A South African man has narrated the moment a Nigerian man became uncomfortable when he found out he was from South Africa. He narrated how excited he was but was daunted by the change in behaviour of the Nigerian man.
He apologized to all Africans and also said he was ashamed for the xenophobia attack that has been going on in the country.
Last night something happened that’s really bothered me. I wanted to use this platform to hopefully get a message across.
I walk into a pub in Shibuya with a friend to watch the football. The pub is busy and there aren’t any seats available, but I look around and spot a black gentleman in a Manchester United jersey with open seats at his table. I approach him to let him know my friend and I are Manchester supporters too and ask permission to join him. He gives us his approval in an African accent. As a proud African myself I’m excited about this because Africans are rare here. So I ask him where he’s from, he says Nigeria and reciprocates the question. I extend my hand and excitedly tell him I’m South African. He doesn’t believe me until I prove it to him, showing him my ID as I beat my chest with pride. However, he doesn’t seem to share the sentiment by the look of it.
He’s visibly upset, and makes a statement about South Africans not being his brother. I immediately realise he’s referring to the xenophobic attacks that have unfortunately occurred in SA for the last decade, and only seems to be getting worse.
I feel this sense of uneasiness, a sinking feeling in my chest. The pride I felt a moment ago as a South African sharply deteriorated into one of shame. I for one have never taken issue with immigrants in my country or any other. I am in no manner responsible for the xenophobic attacks in SA yet I apologise to the Nigerian gentleman as he gets up to leave the bar, having made the choice he would rather not be affiliated with a South African. I prevent him from leaving and profusely express my belief and disdain towards the people who commit these acts.
Anyway, after a little back and forth I convince him that South Africans aren’t all bad. We give each other a hug and he leaves.
Never before have I felt to be so ashamed as I South African. It’s been turbulent times for South Africa of late.
We’re failing our brothers and sisters in Africa, we’re failing our women, we’re failing our children. We need to be better. We need to fight for our people and speak out against atrocities committed on our land, or else we too are part of the problem.
Let’s be the resolution.