Letter from America with KENNETH MUFUKA
The events in South Africa have been in the making for too long.
The idea that South African blacks hate foreign blacks is only half the story.
The atrocities that have been perpetrated in the last three days against Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and Angolans by our brothers must not go unpunished.
Xenophobia is the hatred of foreigners, but surely the attack on a black woman whose video is being circulated makes me sick to my stomach.
It does not matter who she is, whether Zimbabwean or Nigerian, she is my mother.
Think of that. The scoundrels are attacking a woman who looks like their mother and they call that hatred of foreigners. No, sir.
I have revisited the works of Malcolm X. There are two issues here.
Malcolm X says that the truly “washed” black man with a slave mentality goes to his white master and says: “How are we this morning? Oh, we are not feeling okay today?”
This is profound. The stupid black man identifies with his master.
The second part of that is that same stupid black man sees another black man and scandalises his kinky hair.
He calls Afro-hair bad hair. He laughs at the Negro’s nose, not aware that the greatest of the pharaohs, Cheops, was as black as a kettle and that his broad noses and face adorned the
greatest pyramid ever built by man.
But I delay my message. The South African black, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, is inebriated with self-hatred.
Yes, that is what Malcom X called it. Who told you to hate your nose? Who told you to hate your skin colour? It is the slave trader, if you do not know the answer.
But Ramaphosa has been videoed condemning foreign blacks, whom he accuses of setting up shop without licences.
White farmers set up shops by the side roads, next to their farms and sell all kinds of produce in season. He did not do his homework.
Ramaphosa thinks he can attract foreign investment, assuming this investment to be Asian and European.
Truly, there are no people more blind than those who do not want to see.
There are African investors. Rwanda Air and Ethiopian Airlines have proven that they can compete with American Airlines. The fool saith in his heart, investment must be white or yellow.
But that is only half the issue. Ramaphosa must be held accountable and punished severely.
I trust our brothers in Nigeria will give the same leadership they have given below.
The sacrifices made by the Nigerians, Tanzanians and Zambians for the freedom of South Africa must not be forgotten.
South Africa must be suspended from the African Union. If no amends are made, all South African businesses in Africa must be closed.
Nigerians are the only people with spunk enough to make tough decisions. They must take the lead.
Lest you forget, my Sunday Mail editor used to say it was the Nigerians under General Olusegun Obasanjo who took decisive action against the Rhodesian colonialists.
They gave British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher an ultimatum: Call Ian Smith to order or we nationalise Shell-BP. That company was estimated at $5 billion.
Nigeria, through the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), has also given leadership in Liberia and Sierra Leone putting an end to lawlessness in those countries.
Whatever you may think of Nigerians, they are true Africans.
Nigerians have never suffered from lack of Afro-identity, whether in private or in public.
They know who they are, where they come from and have made up what other Africans lack in self-pride and assertion, including pride in Afro-attire and culture.
Killing the dream
Our own Marikana Chihombori, African Union ambassador to the US, has provided a roadmap to the dream of a united continent.
When all is said and done, even South Africa, with 50 million people, and Gambia, with three million people, cannot sit at the table with giants like China and India and negotiate anything.
But there is more. Africa is more than South Africa. Africa includes Africans in the Atlantic Diaspora, taken there as slaves. Let me be clear.
What we call nationalism today was articulated first by the great Afro-philosopher, WilliamDu Bois.
He called the first pan-African conference in 1948 in Birmingham.
At this conference he breathed into the young students, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and some say Nnamdi Azikiwe, that Africa must be free.
It was this theme which led to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity and the Frontline States for the liberation of South Africa.
The fool sayeth in his heart: “I don’t need my brothers.”
Ramaphosa must be brought before the African Union, formal charges must be laid against his country. South Africa must be suspended from the organisation until amends are made. There should be no prevarication.
But there is more. I have a lady friend whose husband is a white Anglo engineer.
Wherever they travel throughout Africa, she gives her husband whatever goods she wants to carry and he passes without the customs officials saying a word.
Three years ago, I noticed an advertisement for registered nurses and skilled personnel in the London Times.
These same advertisements were not published in Nigeria or in Zimbabwe.
Please God, give us patience with my brothers.
Even when they know they know the English couple is together, only the black wife is stopped while the Anglo husband is allowed to pass.
I have experienced a similar fate in South Africa. Even though I am with an American group, all of us carrying US passports, I have been singled out for questioning. I now fly
One will notice that these same South Africans who have burned property belonging to their brothers have left properties belonging to the Japanese, British and Koreans alone.
It reminds me of Malcom X’s explanation. It is self-hatred. They see themselves in the shoes of these “other” or, as the West Indian writer wrote, they are imprisoned in the castles
of their skins.
But Nigerians should give Ramphosa a schedule. There are South African companies in Nigeria, Mnet, Econet and Pick’nPay.
These should be shut immediately until Ramphosa owns up to his sins.
Self-hatred is an unforgivable sin. The whole point of the African founding fathers, who include DuBois, Booker T Washington, Azikiwe and Nkrumah, was that Africa must unite.
South Africa stands in the way of that unity.
I have travelled in Zululand where my people are called Mpofu (Eland).
There are Tsonga in Mozambique and South Africa, Ndebele in both countries and Shona in Zimbabwe and across the Limpopo.
It is the slave master who taught us that the Ndebeles and the Nguni in Malawi are different.
While these slave traders teach us this nonsense, former British prime minister Tony Blair is making presentations to whoever will listen.
The world will not listen or negotiate with miniscule nationalities like Scots and Picts.
A bigger unit, the European Union, with 250 million people, becomes a heavyweight.
But is this not what our African founding fathers have taught us all along? Do we need to hear this talk from Blair?