The history of violence in SA

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XENOPHOBIA means fear of strangers. 

Are the deadly attacks by South Africans against other African blacks to be considered xenophobic?

Zimbabweans and Nigerians have been at the worst receiving end of this terror, to the point of death, for no crime they have committed. 

Also, there are Malawians, Mozambicans and Ethiopians. All these enter South Africa with a dream of making a living through finding employment and/or starting up businesses.

Are these people to be considered strangers on African soil? 

The attacks themselves, are they a form of phobia or blatant terrorism? 

For humans are being isolated, beaten, shot or burnt to death. South African blacks are suffering from self-hate and ignorance. They have been taught to hate themselves, thus, by extension, their African brothers by their experience of colonisation and apartheid.

In the Southern African region, South Africa was among the first to be colonised by whites, second only to Mozambique. Before this, Africa had no divisions and blacks moved to and from the coasts of Beira and the Cape when so ever they pleased.

Mapungubwe and Dzata were monuments constructed by Zimbabwean people in the land of South Africa. The same minaret symbols (conical towers), brick laying styles, weaving jennies, beads, mining and smelting activities were found in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Yemen, which means the interconnectivity did not end in the hinterland but spread across seas.

In the 17th Century CE, the Dutch were sailing to India to procure spices that they would sell in Europe. They had to navigate up the Atlantic Ocean from Europe, rest at the Cape and continue to India by sailing down the Indian ocean.

That was until the Cape Dutch became curious about minerals in the hinterland. 

Besides this, they sought women, land and cattle from the Hottentots (mix between Bushman and Bantu) they ran into by the coast. 

They advanced inland from the coast in search of minerals and dispossessing the blacks of their land and property. 

These great treks led to a mfecane, that is a wave or domino effect, which led displaced groups to displace other unsuspecting groups.

This turned pacifists into warriors, particularly among the Mthethwa who abandoned the circumcision rite and replaced it with military training. It is here that the Zulu originated while their violent nature and activities which peaked in the days of Chaka were felt far north in Zimbabwe and Botswana where Mzilikazi fled with his army. Thus the loss of respect for human life and property in Southern Africa is attributable to whites first, because there were no warmongers in the land until this period.

People of the same race and language family were found raiding, killing and displacing each other, only after they would have been displaced by others. Besides the Dutch, there were also English people, particularly prospectors and missionaries from the London Missionary Society, like Robert Moffat.

The infamous pioneer column, along with the missionary and colonial expeditions that took place in Botswana and Zimbabwe began in South Africa. 

The Dutch began warring against the British and vice versa. Eventually, the whites stopped fighting among themselves and teamed up against the blacks.

This founded the Afrikaner community which was mostly Dutch but administratively British. 

They made agreements to share wealth, power and conserve peace among themselves.

As a united front, they began making strides to effectively rule over the still disunited blacks. 

This led to the apartheid era which saw the systemic degradation of blacks and other non-whites, namely Indians and coloureds. 

  • To be continued… 

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