Xenophobia spoken in tongues


One must always watch what comes out of one’s mouth. You could be the spark of the world’s next Sarajevo incident.

You could be just shy of being an unrepentant and xenophobic King Goodwill Zwelithini with little to no idea of how diplomacy works.

When you arrive in South Africa, you want to downplay your wretchedness and hopelessness by representing Africa’s most literate country with your best flex of the Queen’s language. Black South Africa, however, doesn’t work like that. They cannot even stand being spoken to in English.

Here’s the thing, most Zimbabweans, when we are outside of Zimbabwe, sound like “educated” black Americans.

We’ve got that twang ya’ll! However, the evident poverty and clumsiness at handling rands in coins after being used to our flamboyant Zim dollar trillions and quadrillions gives us away.

Approaching touts and taxi drivers asking for kombis going to Pretoria, for example, means you’ll fall flat.

Pretoria doesn’t exist to black SA. It’s “ePitoli”. While you are at it, you’d best swirl your tongue around that “p” “t” and “l” just right.

Talk show host Wendy Williams describes people who mix cultures and races as being “down with the swirl”, as in coffee and milk swirl. When in SA, child you better be down with the swirl!

They just don’t get it when you speak in English. Or any other language that isn’t Zulu, Sotho or Xhosa — in that order.

If you had the satellite decoders when M-Net had open time and watched a bit of Egoli: The Place of Gold or some 7 de Laan, you might as well vat n kans (take a chance) with it.

Dropping some Afrikaans in your praat (talk) will mean that you are an apartheid era domestic’s child and you probably grew up with the Afrikaans swirl.

If you must go there and mention apartheid just to fit in a little bit more, you’d better be damn excellent with that swirl.

The apartheid your Zimbabwean history teacher nosed out with his best Brit accent must come out as “arrr-parr-t-eid”!

Black foreigners are easily fished out. It’s so hard for our people down there. When they visit, they don’t mara neh just for pose.

That is why almost 1 000 Zimbabweans have opted to be repatriated back home from Durban with their breath intact.
Right here in Zimbabwe, we easily fish out fleeing and Somalians who hide in high-density areas.

While we have been outraged about these xenophobic attacks, we’ve wondered about why the rest of the world isn’t as engaged.

Black people can be some of the most discriminatory people in modern history with our selective application of human rights.

We choose which human rights to be livid about only if they affect us.

I came across a tweet where a black Zimbabwean said that King Zwelithini must be lynched for his role in this latest wave of attacks on Africans in SA.

I did a double take and wondered how on earth someone could have the word “lynch” in their vocabulary in 2015!

Given the chance to have a one on one with the good King would he pull it off? Go eye for an eye maybe? Besides that, did it even occur to him to recall the historical connotation of what lynching is associated with?

Such carelessness and reckless abandon with human rights issues makes up seem stupid and unworthy of concern to the outside world.

I ask all black people in the world to be voracious champions of human rights given the thousands of years of abuse our ancestors suffered directly or indirectly at the hands of other races, which didn’t know what human rights were at the time.

No more to selfish rights and especially dismissing the uncomfortable ones!

British columnist Kate Hopkins recently referred to African migrants who precariously cross the Mediterranean into Europe as “cockroaches” that deserved their fate. As fate would have it, over 800 people died on those very seas hours after her article was published.

As a people across the world reacted to the news and her article, a week later she gave a silly “I’m not racist, some of my friends are black” like retraction that plenty white racists love to use.

Like a serial cheating lover sorry for being caught in the act, she sheepishly begged to be allowed to have an opinion.

Murderers, rapists and other criminal elements eloquently and ignorantly believe in the right to murder, rape and crime.

Media honcho Trevor Ncube, speaking at TedxEuston, said: “Words have the power to build or destroy.” Please watch what comes out of your mouth.

While you have a right to an opinion, you do not have a right to a dehumanising opinion. Ever!lSonny Jermain writes in his personal capacity.

This piece is an excerpt from his book “I Deserve To Be: Selfworth Is A Silent Killer” that is due end of year.