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  • on 21.04.2015
  • at 02:32 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

If you come from another African country, you can never become fully South African 0

The violence strikes at what is at the heart of post-apartheid South African identity. For all the talk of hospitality and “ubuntu,” xenophobic violence is a reflection of how the ruling ANC and most South Africans understand the boundaries of “South African-ness.”

As commentator Sisonke Msimang suggests, what binds black and white South Africans together is a kinship based on their shared experience of colonialism and apartheid. Msimang argues that in South Africa,

Foreigners are foreign precisely because they cannot understand the pain of apartheid, because most South Africans now claim to have been victims of the system. Whether white or black, the trauma of living through apartheid is seen as such a defining experience that it becomes exclusionary; it has made a nation of us.

This is similar to a brown or black third-world immigrant trying to penetrate one or other European identity. Try as he might, he can never be fully Swedish, Danish or German. While these northern Europeans may hold an exclusionary, racial view of themselves or their nation as “white,” they share with South Africans an unwillingness to expand the boundaries of their identity. If you come from another African country, you can never become fully South African, even if you become a citizen.

Continue reading on Africa is a Country

by Sean Jacobs

Photo Credit:  Africa is a Country

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