Day 17: Winter Blogging Challenge
It saddens me to write about a topic that is currently trending on Twitter in South Africa, the hashtag #ZimbabweansMustFall. As a Zimbabwean national currently living in South Africa, I have to say this hate that my people receive from South Africans is unwarranted. It is based on the ignorant assumption that all Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals are criminals and they are only in South Africa to cause havoc. This hashtag is also ignorant of migrant patterns that have been existent between South Africa and her neighbouring countries for years. This woke generation thinks that it will change the flow of migration with hashtags. It reeks of the xenophobia that once sparked violent attacks against foreign nationals in 2008 and 2009. I am not ignorant of the fact that there are some foreign nationals that are committing crimes in South Africa, but this does not mean all Zimbabweans are criminals and it also does not exonerate the South Africans who also commit crimes against their own people and blame it on foreigners.
I share below some of the screenshots that will from the hashtag:
I do not agree with the assumption that Zimbabweans leave their home country to come and deliberately destroy South Africa. Who in their right mind would leave their home country on purpose, migrate to another country, leaving their family and significant others, just to be a criminal? While I do not condone crime, why are we not considering the circumstances that have driven Zimbabweans from their homes and families and show a little empathy? Apparently, this was sparked by the government’s decision to support Zimbabweans who are struggling during this pandemic with some grants. South Africans feel the grants belong to them and no foreign national must receive government aid.
Let me divert attention from this to my own country. How long will my people suffer abuse in other countries while our government looks on and does nothing? They say come back home and rebuild the country, with what must we build with? Where is the support for youth initiatives because most of the people who have left the country seeking greener pastures are young people. What future do we have in our own country because I know Zimbabweans would prefer to be home? I know most Zimbabweans who can leave the country have left and some who are remaining are seeking opportunities to leave. This means something is wrong at home.
I see a counter hashtag has come up #ZimbabweansMustRise, but South Africans are saying Zimbabweans must rise in their own country.
I first moved to South Africa in 2005 and I have never committed a crime. I am a legal resident who is giving back to this country through what I do. My social work clients and the students that I teach are not only Zimbabweans but South African citizens. I did not steal anyone’s job, but I went through an interview process where I was found to be the best candidate for the job. It pains me to be lumped amongst the undesirable elements in this country with no basis.
What do you think? Are South African citizens within their rights to want Zimbabweans and other foreigners out of their country? Let me know in the comment section.