The news is washed with the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa against Nigerians and fellow African Citizens by South African Citizens. Social media is awash with several facts, verified and unverified of Nigeria’s role in the liberation of South Africa from the throes of apartheid. And videos throng the cyberspace of Nigerians being killed, mobbed and the counter-attack by Nigerians on South African interests in Nigeria. But all these begs a question, where did things go horribly wrong?
PRE APARTHEID ERA
I wrote a three-part series on the origin of South Africa and how I thought the whites owned it until history proved otherwise. And least we forgot, South Africa belonged to the Zulus and other indigenous tribes until colonized by the British, and the British emissaries sent rebelled against the Crown and called themselves the Boers and forcefully took over South Africa, creating there own language and forging their own process of systematically enslaving and subjugating the Africans there through a policy now known as apartheid.
Several African nations rallied around South African in the fight against apartheid and the freedom fight for Nelson Mandela. I followed this story while growing up and vividly remember the Mandators a music group in Nigeria singing for the freedom of Mandela and several artists like Sunny Okosuns using their platform to fight for the freedom of South African from the shackles of apartheid. This battle was won with the release of Mandela from prison and eventually becoming the President in a landslide victory and the setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal wounds and bring the people together as one nation.
POST APARTHEID ERA
South Africa flourished under Nelson Mandela and he did not seek a second term after supposedly setting the nation as one on the right path politically and economically or so he thought. The country indeed prospered economically as investors visited the country and things turned around with several South African businesses opening branches and subsidiaries in other countries.
Politically, the ruling party, ANC has repeatedly won the majority seats and the government every election but they have been plagued with corruption allegations and failing to deliver political gains to the people. In other words, the political and economic reality of the country has an inverse relationship with each other due to one key obvious factor, racial disparity
The economic power in South Africa is controlled by the Boers, white South Afrikaans, and other non-black investors. And they have harnessed the economic resources of the land to better their lot and put South Africa as a frontline top African nation in the world. Meanwhile, Political Power is controlled by Black Africans led by the ANC since the inception of the post-apartheid era. From Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema, Jacob Zuma, and Ramaphosa…the gains of political power seems to have been lost on the people of South Africa as the welfare of the people especially in the interior and rural areas is nothing to write home about all due to mismanagement of resources, misplaced government priorities, ineffective policies that can be traced to the ruling party, ANC.