Writing this didn’t feel like it was enough. I have been seeing bits and pieces of talks about xenophobic attacks on social media. I avoided it as much as I could because it’s such a trigger. I cannot even begin to imagine how it must feel to be on the receiving end of this cruelty, the fear and the pain occurring simultaneously. And I don’t even know where to begin empathizing.
It truly is heartbreaking for me to hear about black on black crime, it is so debilitating to the spirit to hear how we are fighting amongst each other. I have no educational exegesis on the matter, no knowledge of white supremacy and every other academic exposition that seems to be used to get to the root of it.
The shop right next door where I work has broken windows, the shop that sells lunch to workers at an affordable price was trashed in the course of these attacks. People’s lives were endangered, and all this over a land we had to die for to claim even the tiniest bit of it as home.
I am simply in pain as to how we have gotten here. How we came to believe that an African is not welcome in Africa, how we would sooner accommodate a white man than a black man in the land that is home to us all. Maybe I have romantic notions about being black and being African and what that means, but I would never conclude that an African does not belong in any part of Africa.
I am ashamed to call myself South African. I am inheriting the shame of belonging to such an ungrateful country, one so westernized we have forgotten who we are: African. I am African before I am anything else.