According to the Oxford Dictionary the word ‘Xenophobia’ describes “an unreasonable fear, distrust, or hatred of strangers, foreigners”, or anything perceived as foreign or different. Xenophobia is present in most every country around the world. Why? Well many people, it can be argued, just can’t seem to accept the uniqueness of others. Many people refuse to be understanding and respectful of, not only the origins of others but also of people’s circumstances. Most Psychologists say, we have found, that they themselves don’t understand why it is that people can’t live peacefully together. What is sad is that it’s usually people of the same kind of race that are hurting one another - just because of different backgrounds? Most people don’t realize it, but Discrimination is very large in scale around the world. Millions of people suffer unfair treatment due to “where they come” from. What is worse is the high occurrence ratio of prejudice issues in countries such as South Africa (where according to Statistics.com more than 73% of foreign immigrants, both illegal and legal, experience violence as a direct result of Xenophobia). Hate, as a result of Xenophobia, is so severe in some parts of the world that people have died simply because of “who” they are.
Xenophobia, it can be said, sometimes relates to religious discrimination. There are times, sadly, where religion is used as a basis of hate. In places of strict religious enforcement, like Saudi Arabia, many “foreign religions” are not welcomed “with open arms”. In fact some countries, in the Middle East, are known to have placed a ban on the practicing of all other religions save Islam. This kind of Discrimination, many believe, is “anti-human” and unjust. Xenophobia, it has been suggested, is as a direct result of an absence of “inter-national trust”. There are many interracial issues, the world over, which could easily have been avoided if racial tolerance was at the forefront of “adult” agendas. Sadly, “inclusion” has never has been the basis of anything our forefathers have ever done! What remains in the world today is that human conditions such as Xenophobia are prevalent everywhere; even in first world countries like America.
A Nigerian man, (preferred to not be named) who settled in South Africa more than five years ago, speaks with Minenhle about the oppression and verbal abuse he has gone through since.
Minenhle: After the hardship, of settling here, way from family, what was most difficult for you, in a foreign country?
Man: It was very difficult settling in this country as everyone has something against you. I went through a lot, and had no support from anyone. I felt unwelcome and gathered that the people here don’t like foreigners much
Minenhle: How far did the discrimination/hate go?
Man: It went pretty deep, a few other foreigners living in the same area as I, ended up fleeing as a result of verbal and sometimes physical abuse, from local people. Words such as “makwerekwere” are used to describe foreigners like us.