There is a march against xenophobia on Sunday, at 10am, from the St George’s Cathedral along what used to be the fan walk during the World Cup. I think that if anyone is having doubts about how to put their 67 minutes of service into action this would be a good way.
The other day Ridi Direko was on the radio talking about xenophobia and a psychologist called in to explain how the term was being used incorrectly. Xenophobia is an irrational fear of foreigners. It is like other phobias; claustrophobia, arachnophobia, agoraphobia. What is important here is that it is one, irrational and two, a fear. What is happening in South Africa is outrageous, out of control, anger driven hatred against foreigners, that results in action which is racist. It is unrealistic to believe that all these South Africans are suffering from a phobia. Let’s call a spade a spade. They are racists who are acting out.
Why this is important is because I believe that they need to be dealt with as such. We have an extraordinary constitution that, in principle at least, protects every race, gender, colour, culture and nationality and outlaws any form of discrimination. This kind of racist attack needs to be responded to with haste and severity. There can be no excusing or tolerating or justifying or downplaying this kind of thing. We need to name and shame. We need to be vigilant, aware and absolutely clear. And anyone caught doing anything, from name calling, bullying and shouting, to any physical violence, must feel the full might of the law.
Let’s say what this thing is. And let us be clear that it is not acceptable.