A Pharaoh who does not know Joseph

President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

SIR: The recent events in South Africa have suddenly thrown up a new word in our consciousness: Xenophobia – another expression for hatred.

For weeks now, we have been witnesses to xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals living and doing businesses in South Africa. And Nigerians are more at the receiving end of this aggression. Since 2010, when one Jacob Zuma took over the reins of government of that country, the crime wave has risen dramatically.

Zuma represents a “Pharaoh that did not know Joseph” – literally, one who easily forgets the past.

To every country that forgets her history, this is bound to happen. Zuma and the garrulous Zulu king, whose outburst triggered the explosion of the long-bottled up phobia for other nationals in general and Nigerians in particular, have forgotten the demands of African brotherhood. Both have forgotten in a hurry, the contributions other African countries and indeed Nigeria, made towards the dislodgement of apartheid regime in that country.

For a reminder, so many black South Africans were on scholarship sponsored by Nigerian government in this country. The second democratically elected President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, was one of the beneficiaries.

Nigeria became a member of frontline states even though it was geographically removed from that region in order to make more impact in the fight against racism in South Africa. Other measures were taken by Nigeria and other countries to free South Africa from minority rule.

This exhibition of bestiality against Nigerians is not just by the common people of South Africa, rather this is a script written by the South African government, headed by Jacob Zuma. Nigerians must not forget the Yellow Card saga.

The iconic Nelson Mandela until his death acknowledged the role Nigeria played in enthroning an egalitarian regime in his country. Mbeki followed suit, but Zuma’s people seem to forget.

A country that forgets its past will have no lessons of history to live on. This is not good for Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. I just learnt that history, as a subject, is no more in schools’ curricula.

I hereby plead with education planners and governments to return the study of History to schools. This will enable future generations draw some lessons and not behave like South Africans.

• Friday Ekpo, Lagos.

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