D-Day 12th of July, the day after the world cup came to a close, xenophobic attacks had been planned, according to the media. Foreigners fled in droves, while the officials said they were just seasonal workers and wait for it… tourist who had come to watch the soccer and were going back home! These threats seemed to end as just that, threats, although there were some incidences but compared to 2008, nothing happened this time around. The police are to be commended for their reluctant proactiveness. The police and army being deployed in various hot spots, any attempts at attacks were squashed.
Since this is starting to seem like a Biennial event, we might as well prepare ourselves for Xenophobia 2012, and arm ourselves with this quick list of 8 things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of Xenophobia in South Africa I don’t know if this list applies to other countries though.
Location, Location, Location
Stay out of the Locations! Squatter Camps and informal settlements too. You will be vulnerable to night raids
Don’t talk on the phone
Receiving calls was a definite no – no. I kept my phone on silent as soon as I left the office until I got home. I often get carried away while speaking on the phone and ended up talking in Shona, not that it helps to speak only English which brings us to the next gem.
Learn fluent Zulu
The key word there is fluent. The fact that it HAS to be Zulu out of the 11 official languages is a no brainer because the Zulus are the ones you are going to have a major problem with. If you just “ngiya zama” you will be sniffed out. You need to know what odd words are in Zulu e.g. funny bone or the baby toe.
Even if there is nothing playing just bob your head and act as if you are really into your beats and you don’t want to be disturbed and even if someone talks to you, you have to act like you can’t hear them and ignore them till they get the message that you do not want to talk. All the while avoiding eye contact.
Wear a ZCC Cross
Apparently Zion Christian Church (ZCC) is the biggest denomination south of the Sahara, and wearing that cross normally on the heart will mean you are one of us, and will ensure your safety.
Stay at home
Works elsewhere, put if you are in the squatter camps/ informal settlements etc that is not a good idea cos they know where you stay, your neighbors you greet everyday probably ratted on you.
Go to the Police station
There is law and order there so you will be safe.
Leave the country
For a while…come back after a few weeks and stay for about another 15months then make the great trek North again.