If you walked into South African Twitter, what you will see is #PutSouthAfricansFirst, #NigeriansMustGo, #ForeignersVacateOurJobs – an understanding that South Africans are complaining about the state of their economy, losing job opportunities to foreigners, and blaming certain social vices like drug trafficking on foreigners.
For South Africans, it has reached a tipping point and the almost absent political will to address these issues is becoming worrisome. The conversation has moved from individual grudges, to South African streets and now to social media.
The hashtag #23SeptemberCleanSA started trending on Twitter Tuesday, as the #PutSouthAfricansFirst movement plans to march to the Nigerian and Zimbabwean embassies Wednesday (today), September 23, 2020, to demand that foreign nationals be deported – and asking the government to put them first.
Put South Africans first. That's what a group calling themselves Only One SA is demanding. They're expected to march to the Nigerian and Zimbabwean embassies this morning. @KhayaJames is following this story. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403 pic.twitter.com/p9XLNEiFhC
— eNCA (@eNCA) September 23, 2020
Nigerians and Zimbabweans have been at the bitter end of the blame game South Africans are playing. For the most, South Africans blame citizens of these countries for almost all the crimes committed in their country – from drug dealing to prostitution to human trafficking.
We only have two choice
Do nothing or do something
Those who choose to look other way they must never say they did not know.
Our lives begin to end the day we became silent and trusted our justice system to protect us.#23SeptemberCleanSA #HumanTrafficking
— #PUTSOUTHAFRICAFIRST❤❤❤+✊✊ (@Tsona31433828) September 23, 2020
South Africans have stuck to the narrative that most of the crimes committed in the country are done by foreigners, forgetting that stereotyping and scapegoating fellow Africans isn‘t the answer.
People move from place to place for improved livelihood, employment opportunities, or clearer realisation of career objectives which may be more lucrative or enterprising in their new destination. However, according to studies, residents in host countries tend to display contempt and hostility towards non-nationals as competition for available resources becomes heightened.
No evidence supports their claims that foreigners are responsible for the crimes. In a South African publication, Sunday Times, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) chairperson Bongani Majola states that “a march only against Nigerians when many South Africans themselves and many other nationals are implicated in crime is discrimination and xenophobia”.
— Thabiso SYPRZ ?? (@sy_prez) September 23, 2020
I said it in the beginning of lockdown when many South Africans were losing their jobs and not even surprised!
When South Africans are unhappy about something they always put it on foreigners nationals. Let prepared for another xenophobic attack #23SeptemberCleanSA
— Live Mulosa (@Live_Mulosa) September 23, 2020
South Africa has been celebrated as one of the few African countries with a progressive constitution, and if there are laws that address illegal immigrants, it should be duly followed by the government without the now-perceived xenophobic tendencies of citizens.
On job opportunities, South Africa has had a history of unemployment issues. Unemployment is so pervasive in South Africa that President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called it a “deep and serious crisis.”
Indeed, if South Africans see the need to point fingers if should be directed at the government’s door.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya