Xenophobia?

The World Cup is won, but the Legacy is yet to be tested.

We can already see the infrastructure – which would not have been prioritised otherwise. We know the tourism – and other – benefits will start to be felt, within the next few years. And Spain is now inexorably linked to South Africa.

We have hosted visitors well. Even foreigners living in our country have felt welcome, many for the first time. Before, every dark-skinned person unable to speak isiZulu (read isiXhosa, seTswana etc, as appropriate) was viewed suspiciously and treated disrespectfully. Having corrected this national bias briefly, may we maintain the correction? Siyacela! What’s the worst that could happen?

May I also encourage exposing and abandoning the racism inherent in the misconception whereby “black foreigners” receive different treatment to “white tourists.” We need to know our own history – none of us is from one, “pure” heritage -and need to embrace the challenges of constant change. I am South African: English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa-speaking. Yet my family is originally German and English. Fully “rooinek”. I cannot blame anyone for being born in Nelson Mandela Bay, globalisation, recession nor a lack of clarity on my unique value proposition. Neither are individuals to blame for national policies or porous borders.

We have a responsibility. To our own potential, and purpose. If we are true to these – and embark on our own journey of discovery – we will not be threatened by others, but rather create new opportunities and invite the valuable perspectives that “outsiders” bring.

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