Monday, May 19, 2008

Yet Another Setback for Africa

A country in turmoil. Riots and violence in the streets of what was once one of Africa's most promising states. Citizens with an average lifespan less than what it was before. People the world over have heard or read of the fall of Zimbabwe. And this piece shows that Zimbabwe's hardships are set to continue for a while more.

However, the above was not about Zimbabwe, but rather that country's southern, and--until recently--far more respectable neighbor, South Africa.

South Africans themselves are primarily to blame.

Partly due to Zimbabwe's collapse, and partly due to South Africa's relative success, the 'Rainbow Nation' has become something of a magnet for Southern Africa's economic migrants. What is very much a struggling, developing country, handicapped by AIDS and still dealing with the aftereffects of apartheid, is now further burdened by having up to roughly a tenth of its population being (largely impoverished) foreigners seeking jobs in Africa's regional power. Now these foreigners are being blamed for South Africa's less-than-stellar economy and overall development.

Maybe there is some validity to that argument; maybe not. But one thing is for sure: the violence toward these newcomers from Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries is not acceptable. Already, over twenty foreigners have been murdered--one being burnt to death--and thousands of migrants are preparing to repatriate to their countries of origin, even if they have lived legally in South Africa for over a decade.

In the case of the Zimbabweans, who comprise a large portion of these aliens, they've traded violence and persecution at home for violence and persecution in South Africa, a place in which they sought refuge. Now these refugees are preparing to travel to Zimbabwe even as that country is set for more violence. If these immigrants were to vote in the run-off, they would be subjected to intimidation, as they would throw the electorate off-balance, and bolster those who seek to finally oust Mugabe.

Furthermore, even if the migrants have held down South Africa's rise a bit, the fact is that the bulk of the blame falls squarely on South Africans themselves. They're responsible for their mediocre economic growth. They're responsible to the epidemic of AIDS that is wracking the country. And they're the people who voted Mbeki into power. The same Mbeki who has, as of yet, done far too little to pressure Mugabe to step down from power so that Zimbabwe can thrive once again.

While it's easy to blame the outsiders, South Africans need look no further than their own nation to see who's at fault for their country's developmental lethargy.

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Found this article interesting? Check out:
History: The Roadmap to the Future.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Africa.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Asia.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Europe.
History: The Roadmap to the Future--Latin America.

The Science Fiction Channel + Technorium.
The Vegetarian Diaries + Biologeel.

1 comment:

Al said...

Do you think that perhaps a 'root cause' of the Africa problem is the tribal nature in which its culture has developed? This illness is not unique to Africa. We certainly see it in the Balkans, China (e.g., the Hans vs. everyone else), Nazi Aryanism - however this affliction appears to have taken peculiar root in Africa, and stymies a lot of progress. When things go bad, its always 'easy' to turn on people from other tribes. In the example you cited, the South Africans (Zulus?) turn on the immigrants (presumably illegal) from Rhodesia. The cure is Christ -- and for everyone to understand that we are in the same boat: sinners in need of a Saviour, and that we want ALL our neighbors, friends, and enemies to be saved. But we as people get lost in our own selfishness - of which tribalism is such a manifestation. I was just curious if you agreed that Africa has a worse case of this disease, when cared to others - and if so, what do you think was the origin?