2019 SEPTEMBER EDITORIAL – XENOPHOBIA IN SOUTH AFRICA: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE CYCLE OF ABUSE AND FORGIVENESS

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The escalation of the incidences of xenophobic attacks across Europe, the United States and in South Africa is indicative of the rise in hate among diverse Races marinated by the fear of extinction due, mostly, to the inability of Governments to equally deploy available resources of a State for the betterment of all its citizens.

As a consequence, most of the citizens, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder, begin to view ‘outsiders’ as an existential threat provoking them to indescribable actions of cruelty and pogrom. Ironically, the Governments who create the conditions for this hate to fester in the first place, turn around to overtly or covertly support these actions, against the so called outsiders, for political gains, validating and fueling the effrontery of the mass actions.

Xenophobia, defined as dislike of or prejudice against people from other Countries, is first of all a phobia which means an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. What makes Xenophobia a most dangerous phobia is that it is directed at fellow human beings and the natural response to this illogical fear is hatred. History is replete with the morbid consequences of this hatred as seen in the Ancient Greek denigration of foreigners as “barbarians” and therefore meant to be enslaved; the Hitler’s killing of the Jews in Germany; Bhutan is said to have deported between 10,000 and 100,000 ethnic Nepalis amidst terrifying cruelty; the pursuit of Igbos from the North after the Nzeogwu coup that led to the Nigerian Civil War and so many other cases all around the world.

Ordinarily, Xenophobia is generally predicated on a sense of entitlement and superiority authenticating the reasons for dehumanizing others and largely perpetrated by ‘normal’ or psychologically well-adjusted people who just don’t comprehend the fundamental principle of Love. If that is the case from a ‘normal’ group of people, one can better imagine xenophobic proclivities from a people who have been psychologically dislocated by several years of humiliation, cruelty and brutal oppression. Emerging from such damage, the mental complexity of such individuals could be catastrophic and twice as deadly as xenophobic expressions from others. This is the case of the citizens of South Africa which makes their brand of Xenophobia doubly toxic and intense.

The peoples of South Africa were, for decades, subjected to a very sub-human and cruel race discrimination institutionalized in a system known as Apartheid. It was characterized by  “an authoritarian political culture based on Baasskap (or White Supremacy), which encouraged State repression of Black Africans, Coloured, and Asian South Africans for the benefit of the Nation’s minority white population”. Though the practice was officially abolished in 1994, the social impact and the economic legacies, which continues to impoverish the Black South Africans till date, subsists and continues to wreak havoc on the psyche of the people as a whole.

Worse impacted are the young South Africans who have lived the impacts and vestiges of oppression all their lives and have subconsciously internalized the oppression – a situation where you start to believe the misinformation or fables that society communicates to you about your group, prolonging mental subjugation. The lies about their inferiority disseminated by the White minorities for several years, continue to imprison the mental capabilities of most Black South Africans who remain subservient and continue to defer to their White compatriots.

True liberation from the years of oppression would have been a sustained attack to demolish all institutionalized social and economic structures that propagate, even subtlety, the oppression of the mass of Black South Africans. Unfortunately, rather than strive to wrest economic power from the white or at least struggle for equality, they now want to become them.  Paulo Freire, in his book, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, articulates this point thus “the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.”

Due to lack of mental liberation, the oppressed seeks to copy the actions of his oppressor, yearns for power, exerted over them for so long, and seeks to replicate the actions meted on them over others. One can best describe the liberation of the Black South Africans from Apartheid as a Pseudo-liberation which can be likened to acquiring a Computer without any Software. Paulo Freire again explains this lack of mental engagement in the liberation process this way; “attempting to liberate the oppressed without their reflective participation in the act of liberation is to treat them as objects that must be saved from a burning building.”

The general mentality of the average Black South African lends credence to this statement. It will be recalled that the pressures of the Nigerian Nation as well as several other Nations and International pressure groups, principally, led to the dismantling of the wicked apartheid structures. Perhaps the generality of the citizenry were not mentally sufficiently invested in the project and therefore lack the capacity to design a solid roadmap to lead the mass of the Black Africans out of debilitating poverty in such an industrialized Nation, twenty five years after the official abolition of apartheid.

A mental investment in the liberation project would have evolved a mindset that understood the origins of the oppression, the perpetuating factors that sustained the domination, devised principles and strategies to adopt for healing from the pains of the dehumanization as well as fashioned out the mechanisms and structures necessary to emerge into a prosperous future while ensuring that it never recurs.

Being mentally absent from the whole liberation mission stymied the healing process anchored on forgiveness and love. All the indications of a battered psych from oppression such as low self-esteem, reduced life opportunities, crime, substance abuse, lethargy, hopelessness and Eleutherophobia (the fear of freedom common under dictatorships where the citizens are taught to believe that their captive way of life is ‘normal’) are evident in most Black South Africans.

A very highly spiritually evolved man like the late Nelson Mandela of the same Nation, South Africa, understood the principles of forgiveness for self-healing in order to blossom. In a speech to the African National Congress, he is quoted to have said “Forgiveness starts here…Forgiveness liberates the soul… It removes fear, that is why it is such a powerful weapon…The past is the past, we look to the future”. But the inability of the mass of Black South Africans to forgive their oppressors and even themselves, for inadvertently enabling their own oppression, is the reason their souls are still incarcerated and hence their incapacity to get beyond the past and explore the promises of the future with a liberated spirit and love for all.

The Supernatural Teacher, His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu reveals this dynamic in His exhortation to His adherents as recorded in the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star Everlasting Gospel, Vol 1, Chapter 23: vs 16-17 “….If you do not forgive, you will be filled with darkness and this situation will lead you to commit more hideous sins. If you forgive, from today, you will be filled with Light and this Light will lead you to practice more righteousness”. An exact scenario of these phenomenon has already played out in South Africa where we have witnessed unspeakable wickedness, more hideous we dare say, towards other Africans who they have asked to leave their Nation. We have seen so much hate spew out from some Black South Africans and the tacit support of even the Government of the day is not unnoticed by the discerning.

The power of mental captivity is clearly demonstrated by the Black South Africans who, despite being in control of Governance for the past twenty five years, are still unable to lift the mass of its people out of despair and poverty. In their desperation for answers, and emblematic of most dehumanized victims, they seek out other people to victimize and blame for their failings. Incredibly, even though in control of all the State structures for all these years, the Black dominated Government of South Africa has failed to destroy the White erected economic structures, still dominated by the Whites presently, which continue to limit opportunities for the Blacks and are even alleged to be corruptly oiling those structures for self-enrichment.

The solution to break the Cycle of Abuse, where the abused becomes the abuser, is forgiveness and love. As popularly quoted by Lewis B. Smedes, “to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Paulo Freire also surmises that “in order to realize liberation, the oppressed must be dedicated to the task, demonstrating love, which is in opposition to the lack of love that exists in the hearts of the oppressors” he further asserts “that the “fear of freedom” experienced by the oppressed may lead them to adopt the behavior of the oppressor, or forever subject them to the position of the oppressed”.

The Blacks of South Africa must remember the words and actions of their National icon, Nelson Mandela, and begin the process of healing by allowing the peace of forgiveness to permeate theirs Souls and completely liberate them from the shackles of mental oppression. They must understand that those who dehumanize others are equally dehumanized and the onus is upon them to humanize the White South Africans by actions as the late Mandela did when he declared he had forgiven them for incarcerating and torturing him for twenty seven years, choosing reconciliation instead.  This is an example of how to humanize your oppressors, by the demonstration of forgiveness and love in spite of the atrocities committed against you.

It is time for mankind to begin to comprehend the Unity and Oneness of all the Creations of God as expounded by the new World Leader, the King of kings and Lord of lords, His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu as nominated in the Everlasting Gospel, Vol 2, Chapter 43 vs 82-83 which states “Human beings are to love one another regardless of colour, race, or creed. If man loves his fellow man then he would extend such love to other Creations of God. This implies a Universal love, which encompasses animals, birds and fish among other Creations of God including angels. Every creation has its own assignment on earth”.

Xenophobia is in direct contrast to God’s call for the Unity of all His Creations and emanates from Souls with very low spiritual consciousness. Once the Black South Africans comprehend this Gospel and begin to draft policies that reflect this understanding, true healing from the hurt of apartheid and the journey to their complete liberation will commence.

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