'But we have President Kufuor': "Zimbabwe is not as bad as the BBC make it"--British engineer returning from holidays in Zimbabwe on 13 April 2007.

Author:Ankomah, Baffour
Position:Baffour's Beefs - Editorial

Well, did anybody miss me? I can tell you, I did miss myself. It's been so long that Beefs has been on a well deserved sabbatical after 20 years on the front line. Sometimes it can get too much even for a beast to produce Beefs. But a confluence of things has jostled me from my well deserved slumber. And so, here we go. I will talk about three in this column.


The first is South Africa and the gargantuan xenophobia walking tall in the cities of that beautiful country. For the past several years, many Africans wanting to migrate to South Africa have been complaining of the high level of hostility they have encountered from black South Africans, our own kith and kin. They would gladly welcome migrants from other continents than their own Africa! "Sometimes [as Theresa Warner of Orlando, USA, says on the letters pages -p4 of this issue], I weep for Africa!" We all should. What is it (I don't want to say in our make-up) that makes us do these things to ourselves?

On page 28 of this issue, we have a story about 470 Somalis having been killed in South Africa since 1997. Four-hundred- and-seventy, dear Africans! They don't want them there. The Somalis have become successful as small entrepreneurs, and so they have become a target for the locals.

But it is not only the Somalis who are at the wrong end of the stick. It is Africans in general. I am just back from Tanzania and Zimbabwe. And in Tanzania, I heard heart-rending stories about how Tanzanians have been killed in South Africa or mistreated.

I have once stood on the Beitbridge spanning the Limpopo River which marks the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and watched the barbed wire and electric fence on the other side of the river meant to prevent Zimbabweans from making "illegal" crossings into South Africa. I watched the South African border police come along with their dogs, and I shook my head: If Zimbabwe had done the same during the years of the struggle in South Africa, what would black South Africans have done?

Tanzania used to be the capital of the ANC during the days when we had something called "The Frontline States". Thousands of black South Africans lived there, went to school there, worked there, married there, had children there, before liberation arrived in 1994. The Tanzanian government gladly gave the ANC bases for their military campaign and training. In short, Africans--black Africans, especially those of the Frontline States--suffered and died...

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