We must welcome our brothers and sisters from every corner of Africa. This increasingly Pan-African climate must be used to call for one socialist Africa and the total destruction of settler capita…Jan 5th 2020 · 6 min read
by Nidamu Khuthaza
“Tell me, brother, have you heard from Johannesburg?
“Sister woman have you heard from Johannesburg? … We don’t
know for sure because the news we get is unreliable, man … They may not get the
news but they need to know we’re on their side. Now sometimes distance brings
misunderstanding, but deep in my heart I’m demanding: Somebody tell me what’s
The hit song “What’s the Word?” by the late, great lyricist,
poet and conscious artist Brother Gil Scott Heron is just as relevant today as
it was when it was written decades ago.
All that has been in the news this month from Azania (South
Africa) have been stories about Africans (apparently those born in the
country), attacking African “immigrants” (those born outside of Azania, perhaps
from Nigeria, Somalia, Zimbabwe etc.).
And in the mainstream and not so “mainstream” media, these
confrontations have been described as “xenophobia” and/or “Afro-phobia.” Of
course, we know that the term “phobia” is defined as an extreme or irrational
fear of or aversion to something.
What is the real
cause of the unrest?
The only thing causing “fear” is that which causes “fear”
amongst all working-class people: the inability to sell their labor in order to
survive! Unemployment and the lack of meaningful work create both fear and
anger. In the past 10 years, unemployment in South Africa has increased from
21.5 percent to 29 percent. This is the official rate!
Undercounted youth and foreign workers make the real
unemployment numbers even higher. The official youth unemployment rate is
higher than 56 percent. All this is a ticking time bomb of frustration, anger
and fear, not fear of other Africans, but fear of hunger, fear of homelessness,
fear of the inability to provide for one’s children. There’s also the constant
fear of being dispossessed by the outside corporate interests that continually
enrich Europe and the USA, while leaving African people largely dependent and
The Africans born in Azania (South Africa) live in a society
that, like all capitalist societies, cannot and never will offer its working
classes the opportunity to live a dignified life, free of oppression,
homelessness, hunger and dislocations. However, capitalism will never accept
the blame for unemployment and inequality. Instead it blames the victim,
telling people that unemployment is their fault or the fault of their neighbor,
the other “tribe,” the other nationals. This in turn has led to increasing
violence in townships and poor communities.
One poor community in Cape Town saw 361 murders per 100
thousand people, while the richer community of Rosebank experienced eight
murders per 100 thousand people over the same four-year period. This and other
evidence clearly links unemployment and inequality to violence.
As in communities all over the world, the frustration of
unemployment has fueled the inflow of drugs. Nyaope (a mixture of heroin,
tobacco and marijuana) is epidemic in poor inner-city communities across the
country. Drug addiction intensifies despair, further fueling crime and
Who is the real enemy?
The sisters and brothers in Azania, consequently, don’t have
a certain level of class-consciousness about who their real enemy is: the
neo-colonial government which continues to protect the interests of what some
have called White Monopoly Capital. It is true that the descendants of European
settlers along with Europeans still in Europe control the businesses,
industries, banks and monies that flow through the country.
This handful of predominantly white men is the capitalist
class and they, with the support and complicity of their African collaborators
decide the future of the masses of Africans. These capitalists control the
land, jobs and money and use this control to increase their wealth, increasing
the inequality across occupied Azania.
It is unfortunate that through their control of media and
education they confuse the majority of people. Most people are blind to the
fact that capitalism is the source of their oppression, despair, anger,
frustration and fears.
still control Azania’s resources!
At the end of apartheid, European settlers and their
descendants owned 85 percent of agricultural lands. The nearly three decades
since the end of apartheid has seen little change in the lives of African
people, with 70 percent of the land still in the hands of the European settlers
who arrived on the shores of Azania in 1652. Why is change so slow?
The current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is now a
BILLIONAIRE, was, before the end of the Apartheid regime, simply a union
leader. This level of opportunism and corruption is rampant, not only in
Azania, but throughout the African continent.
We call it properly neocolonialism, the last stage of
imperialism. Over 50 years ago, Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana,
which gained independence in 1957, detailed the operation of neocolonialism in
a book by the same title. The economics of newly independent countries were
still controlled by the corporate, industrial and banking interests that took
root during colonialism.
This new colonialism continued to operate with the collusion
of local leaders that choose individual wealth over the interest of the masses
of the country.
In search of a better
Of course, we cannot overlook the REASON WHY Africans from
Nigeria, Somalia and other African countries have “migrated” to Azania. The
same conditions which have driven the residents of El Salvador, Honduras,
Guatemala and other Central and South American countries to seek a better life
in the US prevail in African countries – CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION, in all its
An example is the Western capitalist financial blockade of
Zimbabwe. The resulting economic disruption is the direct reason millions of
Africans crossed the Limpopo River from Zimbabwe into Azania.
The US military destruction of Somalia has made life unbearable
for millions. So, there should be no surprise when Somalis migrate and set up
shops in townships in Azania.
We must welcome our brothers and sisters from every corner
of Africa. This increasingly Pan-African climate must be used to call for one socialist
Africa and the total destruction of settler capitalism and neo-colonialism.
Brother Gil Scott Heron’s song ends by saying, “Freedom ain’t
nothing but a word, ain’t nothing but a word,” but the destruction of
capitalism and neo-colonialism and the forward movement of Pan-Africanism will
make freedom a reality for Africa and the world – more than just a “word”!
Nidamu Khuthaza can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.