South Africa of today has not always been like this. There was a time
in the country’s history when apartheid was the only thing she was known
dark doctrine, which was nothing but strict racial segregation, was
made law in South Africa after the white minority-ruled Nationalist
Party assumed power in 1948.
was so bad that any black skin could be detained, without a hearing, by
a low-level police official for up to six months. And owing to frequent
and horrible tortures, thousands of South Africans died in custody.
at 1950, the government had banned marriages between whites and people
of other races and prohibited sexual relations between black and white
Nationalist Party outlawed both the African National Congress (ANC) and
the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), both of which were advocating for a
national government controlled by the black majority.
resistance to apartheid and its wicked laws continued. The Treason
Trial, Sharpeville Massacre, and Soweto Student Uprising are among the
numerous events that resisted against the evil system.
Belewa would not stop there; he worked to ensure that the white
government of South Africa was expelled from the Commonwealth in 1961.
to make clear the country’s stand on the issue, Nigeria, in the spirit
of brotherliness, became the first country to provide direct financial
aid to the oppressed people of South Africa. $5million was given to both
the ANC and PAC, as an annual subvention to support the struggle.
is, however, important to note that during the forty-three years of
apartheid, 87% of the land was allocated to 4.5million white minority.
While only 13% was granted to 19million black majority.
ratio of doctors to patients in white regions was 1 to 400; while in
black communities, it was 1 to 44,000. Thus resulting 60% infant
mortality among the blacks and 2.7% in white regions.
to these and many others, Nigeria took it upon herself, yet again, to
set up a “Relief Fund” for their educational needs and general welfare
through the Southern Africa Relief Fund (SAFR).
then head of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo contributed the sum
$3.7million. He also made a personal donation of $3,000; while every
member of his cabinet donated $1,500, each.
that same spirit, Civil servants contributed to the cause by offering
2% of their income to the Fund in what was known as the “Mandela Tax.”
Africans should remember that when the world, was at a time, were
playing politics with their lives …Nigeria, in her limited capacity, did
what she could to fight against the evil.
should remember that, in 1976, when thousands of black South African
children demonstrated in Soweto against the compulsory Afrikaans
language for black student, and the police repelled them with tear gas
and bullets, which led to the death of 700 students, it was Nigeria that
created a safe haven for many of them to come continue their education
of instigating hate with the notion that Nigerians are taking the jobs
of South Africans, politicians should remind themselves that it was
Nigeria who provided a paradise for black South African leaders like
Thabo Mbeki (former S.A President) when their country was made hell for
was this same Nigeria, whose citizens now find it difficult to get a
visa to their country, that provided international passports for some of
their leaders to enable them to flee to safety when the apartheid
regime seized their passport.
xenophobic South Africans should realize that, though some Nigerians in
their country are doing all sorts of illegal things in the name of
hustling, there are others as well who toil night and day to make ends
Nigerians are drug lords; fraudsters, thieves, bugler, pickpocket …and
all sort of things. But it is also true that Nigerians are arguably the
most hardworking peoples on earth. And many of them, till date,
contribute to the economy of South Africa.
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In conclusion, South Africans should always bear in mind the following words Nelson Mandela which says, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”
Goodness to both Nigerians and other Africans living in South Africa, and forgiveness for one and all.