For anyone thinking of coming to South Africa from Nigeria, you better do your home work well. Otherwise you will regret at last.
To be fair and honest to South Africa, there are some very nice and wonderful people out there, but they are greatly outnumbered by the bigots among them. I live and work in South Africa and I’ve observed a bias pattern in judicial procedures and policing as regards to corruption and crime prevention.
My assertions are based on my day to day experience and observation as a resident. I have no statistical analysis of the Nigerian population living in South Africa neither do I have the exact figures or nationality of the number of cases prosecuted by the South African judiciary.
From the Nigerian side, the easterners (Igbos) out-number other ethnic groups within the Nigerian community here. That’s why most Nigerians you meet are from the east. A lot (of) Nigerians you meet are not in South Africa to study, though they are enrolled in one college or another, they are semi-illiterates or outright illiterates, very lousy, brash and arrogant (for reasons I don’t understand). Then we have the stranded group who were duped by travel agents into thinking the pasture in South Africa is greener.
In short, you meet criminals of all shapes, size and age. They just sleep, eat, wake up, and hope the next “Mugu” pays. They are so much, you’ll think all Nigerians living in South Africa are criminals, but we have bright students doing well and graduating in South African Universities, we have gainfully employed graduates trained by South Africans themselves (few) and business men and women doing legitimate business exporting goods to and from Nigeria (also few compared to the population of the Nigerian community). But the dot.com or Yahoo boys and drug traffickers are so high in number it seems they’ve all relocated from Nigeria to South Africa. Conditions here favor them.
Basic infrastructure is great here compared to what we have in Nigeria. 24 hours electricity, running water, well laid roads, affordable high speed internet, compact 3/4 bedroom apartment, affordable furniture, little or no scrutiny on international remittance etc. South Africa is a Yahoo Boy’s paradise. Though, most foreigners especially new comers call them as lazy and stupid .
On the South African side, you’ll meet the White Supremacist. A white bigot, loud, aggressive and assertive. He (male and female) hates Blacks and despises Nigerians in particular. He wants to protect the “sanctity” of White superiority; State resources are at his disposal. His opinion and interest supersedes that of others. His ancestors are the second settlers in South Africa. His interpretation of the freedom dictates and guides that the White community must be in control of economic power in South Africa. His favourite question when he meets you for the first time in class or anywhere he sees you provided your black is “Are you a Nigerian?”. He runs the country economically and he knows the “risk” of doing any business with most Nigerians.
Then we have the South African indigenous Chauvinist or the BEE boy, a business tycoon/ hard working student. Drives flashy cars, he believes his ancestors are the real owners of the South. He is rich and he has read stories of Nigerians using South African girls as drug mules, black/chemical money stories; he has seen or read of stranded Nigerians who loiter around the streets of Hillbrow begging for money (these stranded guys don’t shower, so they stink). He cringes when you happen to be in the same elevator, crosses to the other side of the road when you are walking towards each other and always thinks you need something from him any time you try to talk to him. He has held on to so many Nigerian horrible stories and thinks every Nigerian is like that.
Then, we have the Angry Jews, always pissed off and mean-mugging you. He has been discriminated against so much that even his language is not included in the country’s ATM machine .He is always trying to pick fights with you and the first comment he makes is “THIS IS MY COUNTRY!”. He’ll smash his crash helmet on you at the slightest provocation or stab you. He also reads of atrocities committed by Nigerians and sees you as a threat.
So, living in South Africa has made me a racism connoisseur of sought. In fact, I have become so sensitive that I believe I can tell if an individual is racist within a few seconds of being around him or her. There are people in South Africa whose sole purpose in life is just to ruin your day. Racism in South Africa is perfect. It is subtle when it needs to be and brass when necessary.
As a foreigner you might be misled into thinking South Africa is a boring place and no one gives a damn about you, so you can do whatever you like and get away with it. No, you are seriously mistaken. South Africa sometimes feels like the Islamic Republic of Iran we watch on T.V. Some citizens are very nosy and they watch and observe every move you make. I read a news article some weeks ago that says about 80% of Police personnel don’t do normal Policing but rather, spy and gather intelligence.
So, my point is this: South Africa is a tightly controlled society where the authorities decide what business prospers, whether legal or otherwise. Elements within the certain faceless authorities control the drug trade, the distributors are under their command and they arrest them when it’s politically needed to unite the country against a common enemy. We hear of stories of Cuban and Libyan drug traffickers who are quietly deported and warned never to return to South Africa but other nationalities are shown off as trophy in front of news men who broadcast and publish sensational news headlines.
SADEC countries are united against drug trafficking and they hold meetings regularly to discuss new strategies on deterrent, Life imprisonment. But our boys would not listen. Too bad.
In all fairness to the South African authorities , Whatever measures they take to combat drug trafficking in this country could be justified considering that foreigners have turned their teenage girls into drug addicts.
Nigerians in South Africa: please behave ethically because God and justice will judge at the end of time.
Chika, a Nigerian, writes from Republic of South Africa