In the past couple of weeks, migrant workers in South Africa have been brutally attacked by South Africans. The attackers claim that the migrants are taking all their jobs and leaving them unemployed. This has aggrieved the South Africans who have now decided to express their anger in the most violent means ever leading to loss of lives and properties and instilling fear in the lives of the migrants in South Africa, some of which have abandoned their places of abode to take refuge in their embassies. Unfortunately, Nigerians are greatly affected by these attacks.
The rest of the continent has condemned the actions of South Africans and though the president of the nation claims that this is not a national decision but the decision of a few sect of the nation, the harm being caused by this few is ravaging like wild fire and the effect is the protests which we have seen in some parts of Nigeria and Mozambique.
In Mozambique, citizens have manned a road block stoning vehicles that have South African plate numbers. In Zambia, a certain radio station has stopped playing South African songs and in Nigeria, citizens have threatened to shut down the South African businesses. A recent report states that there was protest at the MTN office in Benin as indigenes called on Nigerians to boycott goods and services of South Africans.
All of these issues reminds me of the words that reechoed in my political classes that no nation is an Island. It seems to me that the South Africans were not taught that aspect of international politics. If they were, they would have weighed the consequences of their actions before proceeding to attack other migrants particularly as most of them are also from African states.
The implication of their action is that, South African companies in other African countries are likely to be sent packing as well and South Africans in these countries are not safe. MTN is one of the largest telecommunication companies in Nigeria which makes a lot of money but does not even have a precedence of paying its staff well. They employ Nigerians as contract staff mostly and their pay is quite ridiculous. There are also South Africans thriving in other African countries. Shop Rite is also a South African initiative. Mr. Price is also South African owned.
Do you think Nigerians and the rest of Africa should retaliate by indeed throwing stones and boycotting the South African businesses?