A discoloured rainbow.

Author:Serumaga, Kalundi

The violence against 'foreign' Africans in South African townships continues unabated. What are the roots of this African hostility towards other Africans?

I have never actually been to South Africa and with the increasingly regular expressions of hostility towards black Africans, perhaps I never will. I do not get the feeling that I will have missed much.

I nearly went, on one occasion, but I was thwarted mainly by my failure to work a way past a most mechanically obtuse South African gentleman in charge of receiving applications for post-graduate study at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Being very old, my academic records from the last place I ever studied did not exist in digital form, and the UK academic establishment concerned, which had since merged and morphed into a new and bigger one, could not be persuaded to dig up the paper records for just one student from before they were who they now are.

Any and all attempts to explain this situation to this man were met with the same one-sentence reply: "We need to see the original records." It remained the same even when I suggested they provide me with an official query--or make one directly themselves--that I could use to persuade the new organisation to go into its ancestor's paper files.

I was transported back to my days as a young refugee in Kenya, another African space blighted by white settler culture. I have long came to the conclusion that there remains a marked but unacknowledged difference between Africans from communities emerging from the experience of direct settler colonial domination, and those that lived under Lugardist 'indirect rule' (mostly in West Africa) in which colonial arrogance was still in full force, but there were no white settlers of any significance living there to socialise it.

The former group tend to have suffered mass displacement and alienation from their ancestral spaces, as well as a resultant notion that 'progress' must mean acquiring the socio-economic status and 'standards' established by the white settlers. This means developing a certain rigid snootiness towards any other African not trying to assimilate, as would the case of the latter group, for whom there really wasn't any physical white community to aspire to assimilate to.

Violence today, as in the past, seems restricted to the poor areas of a given urban space. This also means that it is against mainly the black non-citizens residing in the country. As Julius Malema of the Economic...

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