X is for Xenophobia

 My earliest recall of what I thought was an earthquake was an earth shuddering sound that shook Bulawayo one night in the late eighties. I vividly remember a thumping sound, the earth rumbled, windows rattled,chickens squawked and dogs barked. In the middle of the night I could smell fear even in our parents as they whispered amongst each other trying to comprehend the cause of the big blast.

In the morning I was one of the first in the newspaper queue and The Chronicle was emblazoned with a black title reading ” BOMB BLAST IN TRENANCE”. We were to later learn that apartheid South Africa agents had infiltrated our country, identified a ANC safe house and had bombed it as we slept. Among the dead were Zimbabweans.

A letter bomb took the hand of an anti apartheid clergyman Father Michael Lapsely in Harare among other acts. 

History taught us how Zipra and Umkhonto we Sizwe operated in the Hurungwe hot zones in 1967 in the quest for independence for both countries. Years later , the independent countries suffered the brunt of supporting the liberation forces of South Africa and no country was spared. 

The Frontline  States were born out of a stubborn resolve to dismantle apartheid.

1994 everyone celebrated and serenaded South Africa . It was called the rainbow nation. 

Last week of 2005 going to the first week of 2006 the rainbow was smudged with the blood of fellow Africans no longer wanted in South africa. I learnt the word xenophobia.

After fighting to help the brothers gain advantage the brothers turned against their own fellow Africans citing disadvantage.

Last week the rainbow tapestry got more crimson. It continues to smudge as I speak, fuelled by genocidal incitement and tacit complicit inaction.

When we grew up, a tick on paper meant approval and correctness and an X meant wrong and possibly disapproval (except when we vote). Today the X in xenophobia cries out for the greatest disapproval ratings and we owe it to our children to stand up and speak against this ill.

In his book , My second Initiation: the Memoir of Vusi Pikoli, the writer speaks of the brunt borne by Lesotho nationals because of hosting ANC cadres. He speaks of Zambia and their days in Harare including their academic sojourns in these countries. 

Besides agents of the apartheid regime, they had nothing to fear.

But today our brothers have turned into agents of fear and purveyors of death. UnAfrican.

Whatever the reason, whatever decree, whatever grievance, all Africans are one as Credo Mutwa will say. We live, fight, celebrate and die together. 

Anything else is unAfrican.

X is for Xenophobia. (To be continued)

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