South African academics slams government ‘afrophobia’ propaganda

Cape Town – The South African government’s use of the term afrophobia as opposed to xenophobia was an attempt to maintain South Africa’s image, Dr Zwelethu Jolobe from the University of Cape Town’s politics department said on Wednesday.

\n

\n

“Calling the attacks on foreign nationals afrophobic is government trying to keep the world from seeing us as xenophobic,” said Jolobe.

\n

Jolobe, a senior lecturer in, among others, Third World and African politics, was referring to Minister Nathi Nhleko’s comment on Tuesday that the attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal were not “just xenophobic”.

\n

Jolobe said government was trying to over-analyse the situation and that terming the attacks afrophobic was a matter of politics and diplomacy.

\n

“I must assume that government does not want to call the attacks something with which they do not want the world to associate with South Africa, despite what we all already know,” he said.

\n

Jolobe also said that government was mistaken in thinking xenophobia meant an attack on all foreigners.

\n

He said xenophobia was linked to economics in that it would often see working classes fighting one another.

\n

“Xenophobia the world over is generally the same. You are not going to find a rich Frenchman arguing with a rich Irish man to leave his French champagne alone,” said Jolobe.

\n

“International integration is at its best among those with money,” he said.

\n

On reported comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelenthini and President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward which are alleged to have incited and fueled the KZN attacks, Jolobe called for legal action to be taken.

\n

“If what you say incites violence, xenophobia, and racism, there has to be consequences because that is not consistent with our pursuit for a nonracial, African society,” he said.

\n

Jolobe said there was a lot of hatred and anger in society and as such, public figures should be all the more careful when speaking publicly.

\n

“The same laws which apply to the rest of us when it comes to incitement of violence are the same ones which should apply to the King. He is not above the law,” he said.

\n

ANA