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On makwerekwere…

Submitted by Boitumelo Magolego

The inside cover of my Oxford English dictionary features a word with which I have become all too familiar: the word is kwerekwere.
(It may be more familiar to you with one of its vernacular language–dependant prefixes prepended — the Sotho singular being le– and plural ma–, the Nguni singular being i– and plural ama–). This word is used to refer to black (in the morphological sense) Africans who are not South Africans — South African being defined as Sotho, Nguni, Venda and Tsonga ethnic groups (by that measure the Swazis, Batswana, etc. would be South African?). This word has a very negative sting to it and is often used with contempt. From what I gather it has undertones which speak of how black Africans are believed to be sub–human, too dark and have a pungent smell. Two other words also used in this regard are grigamba and kom–ver (as in the Afrikaans kom van ver) — each prepended with the relevant prefix.

Even though these words seem new to some people, I have been hearing them as far back as I can remember. My grandparents also say that these words have been in use for as long as they can remember. What’s my point? The contempt with which South Africans regard black African foreigners is not a post–democracy phenomenon. The question which everyone has been asking since the May 12 Alexandra killings is: What has made South Africans behave like this? What has brought about all this anger and rage? To me a more relevant question is: What was the trigger event which resulted in the outpouring of all this pent–up contempt?

In order to understand what may have been the trigger, we need to delve into how (in my view) a lot of black South Africans view black African foreigners. Before I deal with how these kwerekwere purging mobs are assembled and the possible motivations for these purges, I would like to address the premise of these purges, that is, the ability to identify makwerekwere from a group of people.

Primarily makwerekwere are believed to have a black (as in coal black) skin complexion. They are believed to have a pungent smell. It is said to be such a strong smell that I have heard a number of girls say that when walking by in a mall and it hits you, you cannot mistake it for anything but. I have been in a taxi where the passengers refused what was a Mozambican national entry into the taxi, retorting “driver re na re ka se kgone” (driver the assault on our nostrils is just too much to bear). Lastly, there is language and accent. Are these descriptions true?

I have conversed on multiple occasions with people from Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, DRC, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Namibia, and I did not think nor notice that all those individuals had a particular smell. I have been to Kenya and I did not think nor notice the people there to have had a particular smell (excuse the arrogance in proclaiming myself arbiter of who smells and who not). Have I encountered this spoken of smell? Yes, I have (on multiple occasions). Do I think that all people from Africa are dark? No, I know many individuals from these countries which have a fair complexion. The Kenyan population, in general, I feel could pass off as “South African” — that is in terms of complexion. Do I agree that there are some black foreigners which are a tad dark? Yes, but the same could be said for some South Africans.

So now that there are supposed traits whereby the foreigners can be identified, what would motivate such an identification and possible subsequent purge? On television, it has been reported that certain officials believe these not to be purges but criminally motivated acts, so that the criminals may rape and loot the victims. Absolute rubbish. The generally accepted official reasons given are that the foreigners are taking people’s jobs and committing crime. Other more pertinent factors which I think are being overlooked, are as follows.

Firstly, the issue of black South African on black South African prejudice which has found a home in South Africa. For an example of this you merely need go to a mall and notice the contemptuous manner in which some black staff treat black customers versus the Caucasian customers. I think this is part of the legacy of black people’s subjugation, the fact that on a subliminal level we are prejudicial towards our own.

Another example of this is the lingering tribal supremacist attitudes which we encounter in our homes and communities. A more high profile example of this I read in Cyril Ramaphosa’s biography, wherein account is given of how when he was lobbying for the presidency of the ruling party, some individuals reportedly retorted that they would not be “ruled by a Venda dog”. I for one cannot struggle to see how such a prejudice could be easily extended to black Africans.

Secondly, I think there is a sense of disillusionment regarding the ANC–led government and its purported non–delivery. This, I feel, creates a continual sense of frustration among indigent South Africans. This frustration, if not vented out via protests and tyre burning, I feel could find release by pinning it on a scapegoat — black foreigners in this case.

Thirdly, the reportedly burgeoning black middle–class (or so–called black-diamond class) is resulting in the stratification of the South African income profile. I believe that pre–democracy, the black population by and large had a very similar and flat income profile (barring the few families which had shops, butcheries and medical practices); this homogeneity I believe played down issues of who had what, because by and large everyone was the same. Enter black diamonds and some families can now afford more than others. This I think creates subliminal pressure and frustration among those who are failing to access and reap the benefits of the country’s liberalised economy. You may argue that this is not unique to South Africa; yes, nonetheless it is a contributing factor.

Fourthly, there is the point of high inflation and interest rates and thus the rapidly escalating cost of living. This places people in a position where they are failing to subsist — of course further adding to the frustration.

Fifthly, there is the issue of South Africa becoming the bread basket of the continent and thus attracting a lot of foreigners to our land. This has resulted in an acute increase in the foreign black population; this further exacerbates the frustration.

The penultimate factor is the issue of Zimbabwe and Somalia, and the reported mass influx of the respective foreigners.

Lastly, there is the issue of negative stereotypes which have been perpetuated about black foreigners. One such is that Nigerians are untrustworthy drug–dealers with a penchant for aggression.

Now that we have supposedly identified makwerekwere, have subliminal motivation for their purge and have a pretext, a question which I have recently encountered arises: How do you mobilise people to go on these purges? I think the socially cohesive nature of the communities wherein these events take place, provides a clue. In these communities it is not uncommon to know who the in–laws of someone living five houses down the street, are. Thus people know each other (in stark contrast to life in suburbs) and if you ever wanted to see the bush telegraph in action and not merely confined to history textbooks, visit these communities.

Point being, once such a purge is initiated it is very easy to spread the message, and get all and sundry involved. A friend of mine who lives in one of Mamelodi’s (east of Pretoria) squatter–camps (where one such purge occurred), says another factor is the issue of social coercion. That is, the modus operandi which was used in the eighties to weed out dimpipi or ascaris (i.e. spies), the “it is either you are with us or against us” mentality. Thus you find people who would not get involved in the physical beatings but rather jeering or being idle spectators. How and who starts it? In such highly charged environments (Khutshong comes to mind), there are always instigators who wield social capital and as a result can get people up in arms.

But in all of this, how do black Africans feel? Are we meeting the expectations that black foreigners have of South Africa? Many of these individuals feel that their countries gave home to the South African struggle contingent in the heydays of Apartheid; yet here they are, asking us to wash their hands as they did ours, and we choose to turn a cold shoulder. Thus a lot of them have this sense of disillusionment when they are treated with such contempt here.

I think part of the problem here is that people from my age upwards hand scant education regarding what truly was happening during the Struggle (for example, I only discovered further in my high schooling that when it was said that Nelson Mandela went underground, it did not mean that there were underground tunnels in Soweto — clearly English is not my mother–tongue). I can only hope that the education system at present is doing much more and conscientising the school–going youth.

The remedies which I have seen deployed to ameliorate this escalating situation, are advertisements which were being run on radio around Human Right’s Day this year. Other than that I have heard of no other interventions (I make an effort to look at a newspaper once a week, listen to radio news once a week and watch TV news once a week). Given that it was Easter, I did not hear of anyone asking the Bishop Lekganyane to speak to the congregants at Moria. I did not hear the South African Council of Churches (SACC) telling their members to allot a minute or so in their Easter sermons. I did not hear members of the Congress of Traditional Leaders (CONTRALESA) being asked to speak to their subjects about this matter. I did not hear anyone requesting the Congress of Traditional Healers to give voice to this issue. Which leads me to ask: Given our seemingly lacklustre efforts, are the victims of all this violence to believe that this is immigration policy by other means?

As a matter of principle we should categorically reject this barbaric behaviour. I expect that following the Alexandra incident you will grow tired of hearing politician after politician, radio presenter after radio presenter, condemning the behaviour of the people who perpetrate these purges. Do I think that this condemnation is going to help? No. Do I think South Africans in these communities will feel vilified and not listened to? Yes. I think these condemnations will be perceived as “the powers that be once again glossing over their concerns”.

By all means arrest the perpetrators. Do I think the arrests will act as a deterrent against such future behaviour? Yes, I do. Do I think that the arrests will help change people’s attitudes? No, it will merely result in a cold war. What is needed more than anything is a systematic rehabilitation of people’s attitudes.

I think that pontificating about how narrowminded and savage people are, and not really trying to come up with drives to educate people and rehabilitate their attitudes, is not what we need. South Africa ran massive drives circa 1994 to get people to buy into the rainbow nation idea and to put down arms; I think we should embark on similar drives to make people understand that these Africans are our brothers. South Africans need to understand that black African foreigners are not to be feared, treated as sub–human or purged. Failing that, I feel on the passing of Tatu Mandela we may experience a purge transient, which would have the world disgusted and may permanently scar us.

Beyond the political expedience and convenience of accepting these foreigners into our communities, we need to understand that they, too, are humans like any other. In case you missed that, I will repeat it: Beyond the political expedience and convenience of accepting these foreigners into our communities, we need to understand that they, too, are humans like any other. We as South Africans need to make our people understand that with the economy that we have amassed, there are going to be responsibilities. If, in the words of Biko, we truly want to give the world a more human face, then we need to rise above such pettiness. We are sons of Moshoeshoe, Sekhukhune, Luthuli and Mandela, we have little choice but to rise to the occasion.

Boitumelo Magolego was born in the northern townships of Pretoria and spent his formative years living in rural Limpopo. He completed his electronic engineering honours degree as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar at the University of Pretoria.

Melo asks: if Superman torpedoes 500m into the sea and back out, during that period that he is in the water, is he flying or swimming?”


  • Mandela Rhodes Scholars who feature on this page are all recipients of The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, awarded by The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, and are members of The Mandela Rhodes Community. The Mandela Rhodes Community was started by recipients of the scholarship, and is a growing network of young African leaders in different sectors. The Mandela Rhodes Community is comprised of students and professionals from various backgrounds, fields of study and areas of interest. Their commonality is the set of guiding principles instilled through The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship program: education, leadership, reconciliation, and social entrepreneurship. All members of The Mandela Rhodes Community have displayed some form of involvement in each of these domains. The Community has the purpose of mobilising its members and partners to collaborate in establishing a growing network of engaged and active leaders through dialogue and project support [The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is open to all African students and allows for postgraduate studies at any institution in South Africa. See The Mandela Rhodes Foundation for further details.]


  1. owen owen 16 May 2008

    Can superman fly or does he just jump long distances? – ie he neither flies nor swims.

  2. z z 16 May 2008

    “I expect that following the Alexandra incident you will grow tired of hearing politician after politician, radio presenter after radio presenter, condemning the behaviour of the people who perpetrate these purges.”

    Indeed I am sure we will, but I hope not. I fear this issue tearing the social fabric of our society.

    I am most curious about a statement you made:

    “Failing that, I feel on the passing of Tatu Mandela we may experience a purge transient, which would have the world disgusted and may permanently scar us.”

    Why would you think that Mandela’s passing would influence the situation?

    I am especially interested since there have been these rumours doing the rounds, that there will be a purge of white people after Mandela’s passing.

    What significance does Mandela’s passing have in all this?

  3. Cynthia Cynthia 16 May 2008

    I couldn’t agree more with you Z, what does Mandela have to do with this? He is evidently alive and well and it is happening nonetheless…so how would his death make matters worse? Won’t South Africa stand independent of Mandela’s continued existence? or does South Africa = Mandela? and Mandela = South Africa?

  4. Mandrake Mandrake 16 May 2008

    I hope our leaders do more than take a glance at such pieces as yours and Traps’. For they are the ones with the influence and resources to manifest this into active and working projects.

    Superman neither flies nor swims, he’s torpedoing. Torpedos don’t swim do they?

  5. Alisdair Budd Alisdair Budd 16 May 2008

    Why are you going on about people smelling beause of their race?

    Dont you thin that that is the racism you are supposed to be condoning?

    And it does not deserve to be addressed

  6. Mandrake Mandrake 16 May 2008

    Alisdair, the fact is that i remember clearly from my days at Cape Tech that most students attributed these characteristics to “amakwerekwere”. So the lad is raising something that is inherent to South Africa’s racial intolerance.

    Nothing and no-one seems to be good enough for us. Whites are too white, blacks are too black or white(coconuts), africans are too black, coloured are too white or too black. Sad state of affairs

  7. TebzaTheMan TebzaTheMan 17 May 2008

    A well thought article identifying most causes of this unfortunate situation. But you do not come with real solutions to the problem.

    I agree with you on arrest perpetrators, and further prosecute as quickly as possible with harsh sentences to set an example as part of the solution. On the issue of educating people, I disagree with you, how does one educate hungry people who have very little to lose and absolutely nothing to gain from illegal immigrants?

    Saying that we should accept every immigrant willy nilly just because they are from some poor African country is what got us into this mess in the first place. I think the solution can only come from the state in the form of building refugee camps for refugees and illegal immigrants until the issue of porous borders is resolved. In that way the criminal residents will have no scape goat to turn to when dissatisfied with service delivery but the government they voted for in the first place.

  8. Alisdair Budd Alisdair Budd 17 May 2008

    You seem to keep forgetting Asians, orientals and hispanics, let alone melanesians and inuits.

    And for your information:

    If you’d like to find out where I come from and what its like to live in an interracial society and have arguments with the govt about immigration, let alone protest by MPs for your illegal friends.

    And trying to stop them being attacked or deported to their genocidal countries of origin.

    And why I, and large sections of the White population of Scotland find your racial ignorance so offensive.

    Let alone England, Wales and Ireland.

  9. Jon Jon 17 May 2008

    “Non-racial”? Does anyone believe that old myth any more? Or the one about only whites being racist?

  10. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 17 May 2008


    “You are what you eat”. There is a famous Japanese author, whose name escapes me now, who wrote that when she first went into an American Cinema she was so nauseous she wanted to be sick. To her it smelled like a Lions Den – the Americans eat much more meat than the Japanese. Different cultures really do smell differently – if they eat differently.

    The “socially cohesive nature of the community” does not only exist in the townships, but also in the rural areas – both of whom are showing massive dissatisfaction with the government.

    If the government wishes to support all the refugees of Africa – let them do so. They are not. They are expecting the poor to support them at their own expense.

  11. Steve Hayes Steve Hayes 17 May 2008

    I’m not sure why, as one commentator put it, we are “supposed” to condone racism. But apparently many people do.

    The pattern of these incidents, however, suggests that there is an organised group going around stirring up hatred of foreigners. It doesn’t seem to be happening at many places at one, but at Mamelodi one week, Atteridgeville the next, Alexandra the week after. This is reminiscent of the “third force” train attacks of the early 1990s, and suggests that there is an organised group.

  12. Nzuzo Nzuzo 17 May 2008

    Raxial intolerance amongst South Africans has been around since the beginning of time. Urban dwellers looked down on those who come form rural areas. And those in urband areas envy their prospering neighbors. Someone once asked me if my husband was an ‘intlanga'( in a condescending attitude) … I thought it was an offensive comment- when infact he is an American.
    I have had awesome opportunity to know and live with a lot of our brothers and sisters from around the continent while stuying in another foreign country. And found them to be very respectful and kind. And I have to say most of them held South African nationals to high regards, and it was an honor. I also grew to love them as my sisters and brothers, without discriminating, because I found them to be VERY INTELLIGENT, DRIVEN INDIVIDUALS. YES THEY ARE. WE FORMED A BOND THAT CAN NEVR BE BROKEN.
    W e are now spread around the world and still keep in touch.
    And I think the hostility that many of our ignorant fellow South Africans is perpetrated by prejudice and racism. The same evil deeds perpetrated by our oppressors are now being exhibited to our brothers sisters who not so long ago, opened their borders and homes to South African freedom fighters to show solidarity against apaertheid. It is so embarrasing and disgraceful when our people are filled with such hatred, when we’ve had exemplary leaders like Nelsom Mandela and late Oliver Tambo who did not return evil for evil.

    The question is, what extremes are those in power willing to take to ensure the safety of refugees and immigrants in our society? Or curb excessive immigration.

  13. Nzuzo Nzuzo 17 May 2008

    The skin/pigmentation issue Boitumelo is rampant and yet ridiculous among our people. I do not know why people think just because you have a lighter skin, you are better than everybody else. It is the same everywhere( even in the US). And to claim that out fellow african brothers are stinky- we’re judguing them with the same things White were and are still judging us for. So how different are we from our oppressors? Aren;t we falling into the same trap of racism. How different are these killings, or prejudices and racist commnets, from what those UOFS young white males did? and from the killings in Alexandra????? THEY’RE NOT! AL L OF THEM ARE EVIL AND UNACCEPTABLE IN THIS DAY AND AGE!

  14. Thenjiwe SIBANDA Thenjiwe SIBANDA 17 May 2008

    I am a Zimbabwean living and working in “Africa” and i am saddened by what is going on in South Africa. The writer is correct to say that the xenophobic attitudes which ked to the recent criminal activities are not recent, they have been part and parcel of everyday South African life for years. They are a transplant of apatheid. We Africans understand this. Sadly, we do not think South Africans themselves understand this.

    The hatred Black South Africans show towards Black Africans is actually a manifestation of hatred of themselves as black people. They were so brainwashed by the apatheid philosophy that they accepted that white skin was superior/beautiful and black skin was bad/ugly. They have yet to let go of this twisted belief. Black South Africans need psychological counselling, not to be made to feel guilty. They have a problem, not black Africans.

    This is not about skin tone or smell. This is about a people with a serious inferiority complex which requires attention.

    By the way, I lived and worked in South Africa before i left in disgust at the self-hatred exhibited by Black South Africans. I left South Africa for Tanzania where I am living happily ever after! Johannesburg? Nice place to visit, not to lve in!

    I hope one day black South Africans heal and get to enjoy themselves as normal Africans in this complex continent of ours.

  15. Thoughtist Thoughtist 17 May 2008

    Great article – incisive analysis – this should be published in the Mail & Guardian for further dissemination. I haven’t seen an as honest analysis of South African xenophobia in media yet.

  16. muntuza muntuza 17 May 2008

    i agree with the writer, i have lost count of how many times i have been told i dont look like a south african because of my dark complexion,or does it mean that i was adopted by my parents from ‘africa’ as some poeple put it almost as if south africa is not on the african continent,i feel like a foreigner in my own country or is it not my country because i am dark,maybe the solution is calimine lotion,after i become light i will become a full south african,or my dark complexion means that i am a venda or tsonga(some people say that it is only poeple from these language groups who are dark) a very big fat lie of course. i read with great sadness and shock of a man from kwazulu natal who was once deported to zim,not bacuase he was found to be a foreigner but bacause the police took one look at him and saw that he was black like coal and concluded that he was a foreigner,maybe my day is also coming, i will end up in ghana or uganda.tribilism,homophobia,racisism and xenophobia it is all too much for one country

  17. mashobane mashobane 17 May 2008

    People have no sense of history. The Kwere kweres that are being attacked are the descendants of Soshangane, Mzilikazi and Zwangendaba, all subranches of the Zulu kingdom?

    Personally I dont blame the people in Alex for venting. Fact is that the sistuation is likely to get worse as the income gap widens. Most of the people in those areas are unskilled and, due to lack of education, unskillable. Quite frankly there is very little hope for them and a sense of entitlemwnt has set in.

    Xenophobia per se is not the problem, it is there in all countries even in Zimbabwe etc, but it is the klling that is problematic.

    The hypocrisy does shock me….we love Mugabe but we hate Zimbabweans………….

  18. Mbuya Munlo Mbuya Munlo 18 May 2008

    Since I have no time to organise my ideas, they may appear incoherent. I have these experiences however which are not irrelevant to the issues. While leaving in the UK one day tired of giving a steet beggar a pound for tea at my local shop, I invited him to my house for a cup of tea. After giving me a brief interview over a cup of tea he informed me that he was of the opinion that what I was doing in England as a university lecturer amounted to stealing jobs from him and his country men. While working in Mozambique as an expatriate advisor, a portuguese national also working as an expatriate there expressed shock that a malawian was allowed to work in Mozambique as an expatriate. It was not my qualifications but my race and nationality that disqualified me to enjoy the same status as him!

    The following pattern is also telling: Zambia helped Zimbabwe in the liberation war but after the war Zambians were hardly tolerated in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe like many other african countries assisted south africans in their strugle against apartheid, come freedom Zimbabweans are not really welcome in south africa. I wonder what this means to the african rennaisance. It does not help matters that africans from other countries seem to have lost the african tradition of nurturing the hospitality of ones host. It is true that some of the nationalities are guilty of practicing anti social behaviours thereby playing into these prejudices.

  19. Haiwa Tigere Haiwa Tigere 18 May 2008

    and Zimbabweans in turn hate Malawians Zambians and Mozambicans. They describe these people in unsavoury tems- mabidi ma burandaya- very deragatory names-consider them totally uncouth and stupid.Something about chickens coming home to roost.
    And they en masse hate gays and lesbians(No Not mugabe alone but ask most zimbabweans and to a man or woman they will tell you they hate Gays)Chickens coming back to roost again???

    There is something inherently wrong in a system which allows asylum seekesr to work. refuges have no track record no police clearance no place of fixed abode and have nothing to protect so can quickly slide to crime.
    The reason zimbabweand have flocked down to SA is the xchange rate. no matter how little he earns in SA the exchanbge rate makes sure he is king in Zimbabwe.The employer would be happy with the peanuts he patys this guy improves his profit margin and this illegal employee is happy because he is feeding is family. he tells his friends in Zimbabwe- they abandon the fight there and come to Jozi. Those who dont make it slide to crime (I Understand from 70 % of crime now is immigrant crime).
    They have now realised this in the UK and are fining employers of foreign labour harshly. As soon as employers stop employing illegals illegals will be housed at refugee camps and procesed properly not this “fence jumping and work policy”

  20. katse katse 18 May 2008

    Our current very serious problems are crime, either in a form of 419 scam or armed robberies, these type of crimes are unfortunately mostly associated with our african brothers who resorted to this as a means of survival.

    Thenjiwe SIBANDA, there are a lot of smart black south africans, whose mentality is not completely washed, exactly a reason we are not voting for the same candidate for 28 years or run to Tanzania instead of solving real problems.

    you should go home to vote, so you can alleviate our problems here in Mzantsi, surely the township guys are fedup with people that print IDs (and illegal money of course), kill, rob and steal.

  21. IF IF 19 May 2008

    I think this kind of tribalism and resentment exists in every society, usually submerged and quiet at the bottom of the social sea bed. When the economic tide goes out, that’s when it appears.

    When there is money and prospects, everyone is tolerant and loves their neighbour. When times are lean it’s a different story whether it’s Joburg in 2008 or Germany in 1932, or SA in 1948. People retreat into what they feel is their cultural group, the one that has the most claim to local resources. Culture is a product of economics.

  22. Bryn Bryn 19 May 2008

    How do you go about changing people’s attitudes towards foreigners when the situation in South Africa looks like it’ll only be getting worse, not better?

  23. Grant Walliser Grant Walliser 19 May 2008

    Excellent article. Contrary to the input from some of your other commentators, I think you have not only summed up the problem but also provided us with a solution, albeit a difficult one to impliment. The xenophobic outburst has everything to do with attitude and perception as well as the catalyst of hard cold economic fact on the ground. Change attitudes, fix problem.

    If anything, I think you perhaps underplayed the role of economics in this. It is perhaps not surprising that the monster that has been lurking below the surface has come up for air in perfect step with our economy coming off the boil. Jobs are drying up and money is getting tighter.

    Needing someone to blame was probably the spark…

  24. Mandrake Mandrake 19 May 2008

    On Morning Live this morning i heard that refugee camps are unconstitutional. How then to you keep stock of how many asylum seekers, refugees you have in the country if they can and go as they please???

    If a guy has a work permit then another set of rules applies.

    This reminds me of when government said they wouldn’t allow the army to do patrols in rough areas, “against the constitution again”. The gangsters loved that piece of news.

    i think our govt doesn’t know how to prioritize, and all they do is plug holes after most of the damage has been done.

  25. Melo Melo 19 May 2008

    >Why would you think that Mandela’s passing
    >would influence the situation?

    First and foremost, I think we should never underestimate the extent to
    which people in this country revere that man. I would even go so far as
    to say people would moderate their actions (even though it may not seem
    it at current) lest they disrespect/offend him. I believe there to exist
    deep wounds in SA’s populace. Such wounds (exacerbated by current hardships)
    could be easily re-opened provided
    there were a compelling trigger. The resultant actions of people following
    such a trigger are at best unpredictable.


    >so how would his death make matters worse?

    I remember circa 1993 when Lucas Mangope adbicated his
    leadership of the Bophuthatswana Bantustan (now largely North West), people went
    an a looting campaign (as in jogging with mattresses and sofas on their heads)
    after looting the malls and shops they razed them to the ground. After that, we had
    to endure months of not being
    able to get bread and other basic commodities and thus had to source goods from
    farther off. These shops were owned by well known people living in the community.
    Surely I couldn’t be comparing the abdication of Mangope to the
    death of Mandela. I am not. What’s my point? I am trying to show that
    we shouldn’t place an undue emphasis on having a rational path from
    the occurrence of certain events and the actions that follow.

    We should rather try mitigate circumstances which, upon the action of a
    certain trigger(s), may result in adverse actions. The list of triggers may range
    from so-called third force elements to deaths of certain individuals.

    @Alisdair Budd

    > Dont you thin that that is the racism
    > you are supposed to be condoning?

    The purpose of my stating it is to bring it out into the open so that
    we may openly engage the subject matter and hopefully in the process
    weaken the foundation whereon this “othering” process is founded

    @Lyndall Beddy

    > “You are what you eat”

    I think that to be plausible.

    @Grant Walliser

    > I think you perhaps underplayed the
    > role of economics in this

    Noted and after spending the weekend chatting to some of my buddies
    living in squatter camps, I think that without the economic environment being
    what it is the situation might not have escalated as quickly as it has.

  26. Linda Linda 28 August 2008

    As a ‘kwerekwere’ who lived in SA for years before I moved away just before the ‘purging’, I had a South African friend who was dark skinned, people always assumed I was South African and that she wasn’t. I am saddened about how Africans look down on those who have darker skins, and agree with Thenjiwe SIBANDA that black South Africans have a serious inferiority complex. As a people, South Africans should remember that the seeds sown will be reaped.

    As for Zimbabweans getting what they deserve since they don’t like Malawians, Mozambicans, and Zambians, they didn’t go on a mass murdering spree… Also anywhere you go in Africa, black Africans are prejudicial to their own, whether they speak a different language or have a different skin tone. Dare I say, colonialism excaserbated the problem which had been present from before, but I will not expound.

  27. jackmas jackmas 31 December 2008

    i know a lot of dark skinned South Africans and i know a lot of light skinned Zambians/Zimbabweans. the issue at hand is wrong because the two major classes in Africa are,

    “Rich and Poor”

    differences in apparence are inherent and essential for survival of the human race. science tells us that inbreeding is fatal so i would like everyone to know that they once had an undesirable looking ancestor in one instance or another inorder for them to be alive, so stop judging one another on the basis of fashionable phenotypes in society at a given point in time.

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