I really should keep away from the South African media. Everytime I’m tempted to read an SA paper online I end up angry and depressed. If it isn’t the insane level of crime that has killed a quarter of a million people in the last decade, the corruption in government, the AIDS idiocy, then there is bound to be something that tops all this for sheer ulcer-generating, jaw dropping, disbelief.
According to AFP, scenes “of apartheid-era necklacings” have returned. This time the victims are immigrant workers (many illegal, of course) from Mocambique, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.
Families, according to the report, are huddled in community centres, having lost everything, seeking refuge from the violence. Bodies, once again, lie in the streets.
Of course I understand why. Competition for scarce resources brings out the absolute worst in people. Millions of native South Africans still live in terrible conditions, most of the post-apartheid resources having gone to the bolster the black middle-class and the establishment of a new black elite, and, it has to be said, some spectacular cock-ups. This combined with a massive health crisis, rapid uncontrolled urbanisation and, of course, horrific levels of crime, has left an underclass of millions simmering on the point of boiling over.
Today’s scapegoats are “bewildered immigrants who headed south in the hopes of a better life only to have their neighbours turn on them”. Ubuntu is dead.