Its been two months away from my home town and I’ve had fear induced sleepless nights ever since I heard dogs bucking, saw strangers in my yard and things walking on my roof at the most satanic hours of the night. It could have just been ‘abamama’ but my mind won’t stop replaying the whole ordeal. I won’t deny it, I am damn unsettled and the three consecutive gun shots just across my house which I later found out were aimed at a taxi owner for a brewing taxi violence massacre have chased away my sleep ten inches farther.
My journey in this new placed I moved to with love makes me feel unsafe half the time. I have deliberately restrained all forms of small talk everywhere besides at work and that little place I now call home. I am just not ready for the weird stares and worse still having to surrender to the are you Zulu question. So I’ve kept to myself in all forms. It has been good and unsettling in equal measures.
This is my country and I’ve always had to keep looking over my shoulder because that one person walking behind me unnoticed could mean the end of me. Almost like the one sunny mid morning when I was off to my daily grind I never bothered to look over my shoulder, my bag was taken from me; I was left stranded and bare for stares and questioning. Replying in a ‘foreign’ accent made my situation worse. For the first time since my inception, I felt lost, confused and naked. The first thing that came to mind was how warm and welcoming my home town would be. I can’t overlook it, some parts of my own country can really be the most uncomfortable places to find myself in; they make me feel like a foreigner in my own country.
I can’t speak for people but I will write about what I’ve witnessed. I have seen my African compatriots flock in and out of South Africa. Many come here bare, no home, relatives or money. They come as a real sad black story to try and find their dignity, peace and life. Many spend their journey in South Africa doing endless piece jobs. A handful embarks on crime and a recognisable number engage in licit businesses. In the process, many find life, love and eventually dignity. However recently like the ‘burning man’ in 2008, many have found their way to a short lived life ‒ unintended eternity.
I have not experienced hatred so great that it will make me kill a person just because they are not from the same country as me. I am not quite certain what my fellow South Africans are trying to achieve or what message they’re intending to get across either way the execution of whatever that we’re trying to say is an embarrassment and a painful thing to witness.
I can’t imagine the amount of terror the so called foreigners are going through in their own continent. I have felt fear in my own country and it makes one feel like they will never witness another summer with their sanity still intact.
Xenophobia is unacceptable, it goes against especially what our South African heroes advocate. Ubuntu broken, humanity degraded, life threatened. This is a different South Africa, a cold place to live in; too deadly to call a home and too terrifying to walk in. Our legacy is dented. I’m sorry that my fellow Africans have no warmth in their own continent. They are betrayed by their own people. They are foreigners in their mother land. If there was ever a time I felt confused, misplaced and like a foreigner in my home country that time is now.