By Ifeanyi Amadi
…. I have a lot of problem with the authenticity and accuracy of these stories . I’m a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, now University of Johannesburg. I am married to a South African and I worked for the African union from its inception until 2009, being from 1996-2009. That would be 13 years of living in South Africa, studying and working in the country and learning to speak Zulu fluently. Also, due to the nature of my work, I was afforded the opportunity to travel extensively within South Africa and Africa generally. So I can conveniently and confidently say that I know South Africa and its people, very well.
Now, the issues raised in this write up concerning drugs are untrue. Yes Nigerians are involved in drugs, but they didn’t start it or even are they the kingpins of the drug business. But the thing is that the “Igbos”(many are from other Nigerian tribes but tagged Igbo once in diaspora) who are larger in number in South Africa are like the children of the Third Reich, damned for what they are and damned for what they’re not.
Encapsulating the drug business and prostitution in South Africa, it would be wise to recognise that drug business was going on before the earliest Nigerians settled in SA. In Cape town, gang wars started in Cape flats amongst the colored people long before Nigerians got there. In Durban, there was drug trade by Indians from Pine town to the Promenade long before Nigerians saw the Indian Ocean in Kwazulu Natal,( note Durban is not a capital city like JHB. Pietermaritzburg is the capital city)
Now, in JHB, drug business by Nigerians are heavily situated in places like, Hillbrow, Berea, Yeovil, Orange grove, Ellis park, Rossettenville. These are areas heavily populated by foreigners of diverse origin.
Let me also shed some light on Prostitution before I conclude. Prostitution is a right of passage for 90% of South Africans, white, black, Indian, colored, you name it. The remaining 10% are Khoisan. An average South African girl of 15 years already has a child before the family will now aid her to move from her location to JHB, Durban, Port Elisabeth, East London, Cape town or Tswane, which is by the way, the real name of Pretoria.
Native South Africans are extremely poor and as a result crime and prostitution thrive in these Locations ( informal settlements) like Soweto, Alexandra, Tembisa, Lenasia and Eldorado park in Gauteng province, with JHB as capital city. Lamontville, Port Shepstone, Umlazi, Umtata, Bluff, and other locations spread out in the Zululand, feed the crime and whore needs of Durban KZN. While the Cape town is fed by Gugulethu, Kylitsha, cape flats and neighbouring East London and Port Elizabeth.
The other provinces, like Bloemfontein, Limpopo and basically all of the former Northern Transvaal, Boputhatswana, flock to JHB, supported by migrating prostitutes from Namibian, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and a smattering handful from Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Angola, not forgetting assassins from Mozambique and Zimbabwe. These complete the Violent crimes and Prostitution ring in South Africa.
Looking at drugs holistically, Nigerians, Tanzanians, Indians, Pakistanis Italians and the Boer South Africans are indictable here, but in different categories.
The drug business are in three categories:-
1. Importers, ( drugs are not indigenous to South Africa) so they are imported from South America, Asia and Europe to SA. You might be wondering Europe? Yes, Europe. Drugs are not restricted to Cocaine and Opium, inclusive also are, Fentanyl, Mandrax, Ecstasy, Acid paper e.t.c These come from Europe, they all find their way to South Africa and somebody brought them into the country and just about 10% of importers are Nigerians. Are you now wondering who is then responsible for the remaining 90%? The South African whites/Boers are responsible. Most drug imports come from Holland which is the Boers original home. Have you ever wondered why there hasn’t been any major drug bust in the Airports or anywhere else in South Africa? Simple, its a Cartel run by Indigenes, the Police, immigration and Customs.
2. These are the middle men, who now buy 50-60-70grammes, break it into 5gs and in turn sell to the third and final group in the drug dealing chain, called ” Ndi-Atuke” .
3. Now, the third and final groups who take the major risk in the business are the ones who may buy 5 or 10g and cook a part to sell as rocks and the other as powder. These groups are the street urchins who market in small scale to whoever can afford it and the groups are the individuals that cannot afford to be cartels as they are constantly harassed by the Police and the Mafia, to pay protection money.
Some of these third groups team up with the prostitutes to bring their customers ( mainly whites) to buy from them. So the prostitutes are already addicts, who are no longer accepted as residents in strip clubs like Summit club, Dorchester and other such clubs that dot the cities of South Africa, a reminder of its immediate gory past. The prostitutes and all Pinch sellers are guilty of such association and its not restricted to Nigerians.
Now to the reason why Nigerians are targets for this Xenophobic attacks are two tiered.
1. Once upon a time on Etv South Africa, there was a Talk show named “Third Degree” hosted by an Indian lady who was trying to divert attention of criminal acts from her shop to Nigerians, first of such shows was about a massacre that took place in a gay club called little Caesars. In the ensuing documentary, she blamed it on Nigerians in relation with drug peddling. But when the case was finally busted, no Nigerian was involved. It was done by some whites and Indians who hated Homosexuality.
The second documentary of note was the Moodly killing, Moodly, an Indian anf and student in the University, reported his white girlfriend missing. Mrs Pillay of Third degree concocted a story that Nigerians abducted her because of debt from drugs. At the conclusion of the investigation, when the body was found, autopsy indicated that the girl was not a drug user and that Moodley himself strangled and dumped her body before reporting her missing. Again there was no Nigerian involved.
2.. The second and most probable reason ( which even irritates me) is this: Nigerian drug dealers in Hillbrow are lousy. Infact, if you see them misbehaving in South Africa with their illegal drug activities you’d think they’re in their village and drug sale is a legal business. Other nationals that are involved and richer are absolutely living non-descript lives, but their Nigerian counterparts in the lower rung are living flamboyantly with no obvious source of income.
So, in conclusion, Nigerians are not the culprits as was described in that write up, but they have simply constituted themselves into a nuisance in South Africa. If they are the biggest drug dealers in South Africa, they would all be in Prison by now.
There are lots of Nigerian professionals living and working in South Africa, even Vodacom the largest telecom service provider is owned by a Nigerian. There are so many Nigerian Doctors, lecturers, business men , Engineers holding places of pride in the economy and society.
Finally, xenophobia has nothing to do with drugs, but lots to do with envy. They came to loot and Kill, do you fight crime with another crime?