South Africans are planning a nationwide ‘clean up’ and the dirt is Nigeria | #23SeptemberCleanSA

Xenophobia

If you walked into South African Twitter, what you will see is #PutSouthAfricansFirst, #NigeriansMustGo, #ForeignersVacateOurJobs – an understanding that South Africans are complaining about the state of their economy, losing job opportunities to foreigners, and blaming certain social vices like drug trafficking on foreigners.

For South Africans, it has reached a tipping point and the almost absent political will to address these issues is becoming worrisome. The conversation has moved from individual grudges, to South African streets and now to social media.

The hashtag #23SeptemberCleanSA started trending on Twitter Tuesday, as the #PutSouthAfricansFirst movement plans to march to the Nigerian and Zimbabwean embassies Wednesday (today), September 23, 2020, to demand that foreign nationals be deported – and asking the government to put them first.

Nigerians and Zimbabweans have been at the bitter end of the blame game South Africans are playing. For the most, South Africans blame citizens of these countries for almost all the crimes committed in their country – from drug dealing to prostitution to human trafficking.

In June, a trend on Twitter asked Nigerians to leave their county over a video of a South African girl dancing for Nigerian men. Many tweeted their rage with #NigeriaMustFall on Twitter.

South Africans have stuck to the narrative that most of the crimes committed in the country are done by foreigners, forgetting that stereotyping and scapegoating fellow Africans isn‘t the answer.

People move from place to place for improved livelihood, employment opportunities, or clearer realisation of career objectives which may be more lucrative or enterprising in their new destination. However, according to studies, residents in host countries tend to display contempt and hostility towards non-nationals as competition for available resources becomes heightened.

READ ALSO – South Africans want to prioritise themselves in another wave of xenophobia

No evidence supports their claims that foreigners are responsible for the crimes. In a South African publication, Sunday Times, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) chairperson Bongani Majola states that “a march only against Nigerians when many South Africans themselves and many other nationals are implicated in crime is discrimination and xenophobia”.

South Africa has been celebrated as one of the few African countries with a progressive constitution, and if there are laws that address illegal immigrants, it should be duly followed by the government without the now-perceived xenophobic tendencies of citizens.

On job opportunities, South Africa has had a history of unemployment issues. Unemployment is so pervasive in South Africa that President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called it a “deep and serious crisis.”

Indeed, if South Africans see the need to point fingers if should be directed at the government’s door.

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