Forrinurs are stoopid

Unimpressed with someone? Trace their ancestory back a bit, apply a liberal dose of anti-constitutional xenophobia and suggest they leave the country, post-haste.

Julius Malema was at it last week, with his typically edgy, borderline xenophobic comments about curry and the Guptas, before telling his adoring audience that the well-connected Gupta family “must leave the country with immediate effect”. Here are some t-shirts on sale so you can wear your xenophobia in case your voice becomes a bit hoarse from constantly shouting about it.


And then today, there was this gem from Ses’Khona spokesperson Sulyman Stellenboom (just one R away from perfect nominative determinism), who gave us this line on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille:

Zille is a ‘germ from Germany’ who must ‘go back where she came from’

Magnificent. Aside from the fact that Zille was born in Joburg, that is. And the fact that it’s repulsively and unnecessarily xenophobic. Maybe Sulyman and the Surly Man both had this feelings poster on their respective bedroom walls. Or maybe they’re just attention-seeking twats using the media’s love of hyperbolic soundbites, and carefully drawing on the populist element of South Africa’s rich recent history of not liking people from other countries very much.

Who knows?

It doesn’t even make sense though, does it? “A germ from Germany”? People from Germany are called Germans, not germs. Germs is a generic term for bacteria. Helen Zille may be many things to many people, but she’s clearly not a single-celled, prokaryotic, pathogenic micro-organism. Nor is she the reproductive part of a cereal. Obviously not.
What was the idiot thinking? Does he also think that Angolans deserve to ‘ang? Or that people from Sweden are merely thinly-veiled turnips. Ooh, and don’t get him started on the Finnish.
The bloke’s a tosser. From… Tossland.
Or something.

Later on, there’s going to be some fighting around Parliament as all the different groups, cultures, colours and various party supporters meet in one massive congested space in Cape Town CBD and the police struggle to keep them apart. The media will love that too.

Anything inflammatory. Which is exactly why Julius and Sulyman keep spouting their xenophobic crap – because they know that’s how they get heard.


As parents, it’s important that we let our kids know that they will experience different feelings at different times in their lives. Some of these feelings – the vast majority, we hope – will be positive ones, but there will be times when there will be negative feelings as well. And that’s natural and normal.

It’s ok to feel these feelings. All of them. Well… most of them, anyway.

Maybe draw the line at V. And forget about X altogether.


Seriously? What were well-known online kids’ reward chart producers RewardCharts4Kids dot com thinking?!

Honestly, stick anything else in there. Anything.
Stick in a feeling that doesn’t begin with X: “Bashful”, “Upset”, “Bold”, “Enlightened”.
Stick in something beginning with X that isn’t even a feeling and thus doesn’t make sense. “Xylophone”, “X-ray” “Xanthamonas maltophilia (which is obviously the previous incarnation of Stenotrophomonas maltiophilia)”.

But don’t put ‘Xenophobic’ on a list of otherwise generally acceptable feelings that I’m going to put on my 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom wall.


Serious note: That’s not to say that this didn’t promote some discussion about what xenophobia is, why it’s not a acceptable thing and, for the older child, some etymology as well. But still…

Clever xenophobic bar chart of the day

I know it’s wrong (because there are some really nice places in France as well), but I couldn’t help laughing at this:


I’m still computerless and indeed now internetless as well (this post is being uploaded letter by letter by helpful pixies), but given just how shockingly bad yesterday was, today feels like a breeze. This is, however, being written before the guys servicing my car give me that call that the guys servicing your car always give you. So things could change.

When I get in tonight, and before the football, I intend to do things with weekend photos and a proper blog post. Watch this space (or at least the one just above it).

Xenophobia – One Year On

One year after the wave of xenophobic attacks swept across South Africa, a quick revisit to some of the stories from last May and a look at where we are now.

We, more than many other nations, should know better. We should know better because we have just emerged from more than three centuries of the horror of settler colonialism and apartheid… This madness has to stop. There is simply no justification for attacking people simply because they are not South African nationals.

Editorial, City Press. May 2008.

The Times takes a look at how those affected are still haunted by the events of May 2008.

Meanwhile, those displaced by the violence are concerned about the onset of winter in the Cape. 

“The government cut electricity last year. It is painful to live under (such) hard conditions. Now winter is coming, I don’t know what is going to happen,” said Dieudonne Masumbuko, who was among a group gathering charcoal to ward off the cold and prepare food. Masumbuko, from Burundi, does not want to return to the local community from whom he fled, but wants to be sent to any country other than his own “where there are problems”.

Burundi native Jacqueline Uwamahoro said keeping her two children healthy and safe during the winter was her big concern.
“The tents are already broken, so water will flow in,” said Uwamahoro. “There is no electricity so I have to bath the children in cold water.”

My posts on the xenophobic attacks last year are still by far the most searched items on 6000 miles… Read them here.

Although it was making all the headlines at the time, the xenophobia in SA disappeared fairly rapidly from the news, although xenophobia is immediately given as a possible cause when any incident involving violence against foreign nationals is reported, in light of last year’s events. But these are just sporadic occurrences – we have seen no repeat of the orchestrated violence which shamed the country last May.

So has SA moved on? Ben Sithole, a Mozambican living in Ramaphosa doesn’t think so:

“Those images I saw, and the victims’ cries for help … are still haunting me .. .”

He is one of a handful of foreigners who returned, and he knows he’s not safe. Though his neighbours have assured him that they will protect him, the people who burned his friend to death are still there, boasting about their crime, and some areas are too dangerous for him to enter.

Finally, a happier tale of Lizbeth Gumbi and Gustodio Muvale who escaped the violence and were given refuge by a couple in Primrose on the East Rand. Their child Zanele will turn one year old later this month.

I hope that her name and story can be remembered alongside those of Ernesto Nhamuave, the “burning man” whose picture shocked the world last May. Because while the appalling and unnecessary xenophobic violence is something that cannot and should not be forgotten, that good news stories and renewed hope can come out of such horror is an important lesson we can also learn.


Bergvliet’s NIMBYs are a disgrace

People all over the city are trying to help out (see DC’s blog) with the refugee crisis that has hit Cape Town since the xenophobic violence. However, it would seem that these fine examples of humanity and selflessness only go so far:

The Methodist Church has accused some Bergvliet parents of “an exquisite form of genteel xenophobia” for forcing refugees and migrants displaced in xenophobic violence to move from a church in the upmarket suburb.
The Methodist Church has expressed its disappointment at having to move 57 displaced foreigners from the Bergvliet Methodist Church to venues elsewhere, because of “safety and health” concerns of parents of children at the preschool on the property.

Yes, when it comes to actually having displaced people living in a church hall near your house and using the same toilets as your children, then suddenly your viewpoint changes. Dropping a couple of cans of beans or an old coat in at a collection station is great, because then you don’t actually have to see the problem. Someone else can do the hard miles and you can sit back in your comfy chair in front of your fire knowing that some poor black person is happier now – as long as he has a tin opener, anyway.

But actually finding that your local church has made its safe, dry and warm church hall available to temporarily house immigrants fleeing from violence.
Hang on a minute! Little Verity goes to creche there – whatever is the church thinking, providing shelter and food for these stinking, robbing, drug-taking foreigners?!?

I disagree with Tim Attwell’s “genteel xenophobia” comment. It’s an oxymoron.
Yes, he’s comparing it to the horrific violence in the informal settlements – but in many ways, moving these people on in this way is equally prejudiced, equally unnecessary, equally heartless, equally ugly. It’s xenophobia – hatred of those who are different to you – there’s nothing genteel about it.

Four parents wrote to the church and 12 signed a petition, giving the church an ultimatum to remove the displaced families, or they would remove their children or stop paying fees.

The refuge seekers were moved to Trinity Methodist Church in Heathfield, Aldersgate Methodist Church in Steenberg, and Lotus River and Grassy Park Methodist Churches at the weekend.
Members of the Bergvliet congregation are still taking food to the people every day.

That 16 misinformed, prejudiced hypocrites can have such an impact on the lives of these people, especially in their time of need, is a great shame. I know some of those “members of the Bergvliet congregation” who are continuing their good work in helping the refugees. They now have to drive further into less reputable areas and at their own cost – many of them are pensioners who struggle to afford petrol as it is. It’s sad that their humanitarian efforts have been associated with this negative story.

I hereby invite any of those parents who complained to the church to get in touch and give their side of the story. Because, as it stands right now, you are as much a disgrace to this country as those beating and burning their neighbours in the townships.

Bergvliet Methodist Church: (021) 715-3045

NIMBY – “Not In My Back Yard”