Xenophobic Attacks Could be a Middle Finger to the Ruling Class

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In 2007 December I was a young adult waiting to join campus safe in the recluse of my father’s homestead with little worries in the world, then the post-election violence happened.

During the ensuing upheaval in which I was at the epicenter(Kisumu), what I experienced were not youths fighting over a stolen election but youths using stolen election as an excuse to loot. Youth airing their frustrations at unemployment and inability to make ends meet.

Fast forward 12 years later and there are attacks in South Africa and the discernment from all this is South African youths don’t want foreigners in their country.

How misleading can an interpretation be? Could the youths be sending a message that our leaders are too thick to decode? Could it lead to a sub- Saharan revolution akin to the Arab spring?

That Africa has the widest gap between the rich and poor is an open secret, that this gap is widening by the day is as clear as day but the question is for how long before the yolk becomes too much for the poor and ruled to rise up and ask for a share of the spoils?

Most of these South Africans that were active in the attacks are unemployed though every man and his dog preferred to call them lazy. When Tanzanians were smoldered alive while trying to siphon fuel from a tanker, most were quick to judge and wondered how stupid a man can get to risk his life for that little fuel.

What they forgot is that that bottle of fuel was the difference between sleeping hungry and having something to eat. These people were ready to take the risks just to meet their daily needs. To imply in anyway that these folks who lost their lives had some sort of retardation is retardation in itself.

The youths in South Africa are not lazier than their continental counterparts they are just using their fellow Africans as an excuse to vent their anger about failed systems that exist not only in their country but everywhere in Africa. We are quick to point a finger at the perpetrators but no one dares mention the problem.

Spiraling unemployment, insecurity and the continued detachment of the ruling class from the sufferings of the working class.

These Africans have always wanted their voice to be heard, but no one is paying attention. It is not the first these attacks have been orchestrated in the rainbow nation, but every time it seems the leaders have been dancing to the wrong tune.

When these young men will have no more foreigners to beat and kill to vent their frustrations then they will turn to their ‘emancipated’ Black South Africans and then a revolution will kick off.

The situation in South Africa is no different from the rest of the continent. The rich are getting richer and every day the slums get larger. More are getting homeless across the continent and fewer are able to put a meal on the table.

The governments will talk of record growth, but this growth will be for the elite. Beautiful projections and chest thumping about how good the economy, despite even more struggling to put a meal on the table, is fodder for the political class.

The more people get into poverty the closer we get to the elastic limit. With the rise of the educated unemployed Africans so will be the rise voices of dissent.

The inability of the African states to put check and balances that will ensure people do not benefit from where they didn’t sow will eventually be their Achilles heel.

How will we explain individuals having thousands of acres of land while others fail to even get a basic shelter?

A society where people steal from public coffers and years later speak about the virtues of hard

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OKEMBOZIL ROCKER

Senior sports enthusiast and accurate commentator.

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