Dear People of South Africa

Whenever I think of your beloved country, the first things that comes to my mind are Nelson Mandela: self liberation, modern architecture, beautiful coasts of Cape Towne and the diverse streets of Johannesburg. Unfortunately, that has changed in recent days with multiple reports of xenophobia. We mourned with you during the days of the apartheid, South Africa. We cried with you. We fought with you, because you are one of us.

The apartheid ended in the year 1992, the same year I was born to Gambian parents.

I was too young to have any memory of the events that had occurred that year. However, I vividly recall hearing stories about the heroics of Madiba in my household and classrooms; De Klerk’s emotional speech and Miriam Makeba’s stunning rendition of ‘N’kosi Sikeleli’ (God Bless Africa), which was the official anthem for four other African nations at the time.

I cried the first time I watched the video of Miriam Makeba singing the South African national anthem. Even though I had very little understanding of the words, I could feel the pain and emptiness in her voice. It was so powerful. I immediately fell in love with South Africa. After all the years of oppression, police brutality, mass incarceration of political activists and depriving citizens of their basic rights, liberty has come.

Few years ago, when it was announced that South Africa will be hosting the 2010 World Cup, I and many other Africans celebrated it like the games were going to be played at our door steps. We took so much pride in it. It was the first of its kind for an African nation to host such a gracious event. It was a sign of progress for the continent.

I was hurt to the core after following reports of the violent attacks on African migrants in South Africa– killing hundreds, leaving many injured. Mama Africa is drowning in her tears for our continual display of hate towards each other, after all the hell we’ve been through. We continue to break each other while our enemies are watching from a safe distance; filled with joy. For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be one of your sons, Mama Africa. And I say this with deep sadness and despair *Drops Mic*

 Sincerely,

A Broken Hearted African