South Africans persist in being foreigners in their continent

08 March 2020 - 00:00 By REBECCA MQAMELO

‘Oh cool, you’re from South Africa? Which country?” I can’t stop my eyes widening at this bizarre response — a new variation on the stereotype of the geographically challenged foreigner who thinks “Africa” is a country. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about travelling as an African, it’s that we assume the responsibility of correcting all manner of odd responses and shades of ignorance.

Recently, however, I have faced far more sobering responses to my origins — and it is no coincidence that they all come from fellow Africans abroad. “South Africa?” they’ll ask with a steely look, and proceed to interrogate me on my country’s xenophobia. Our hatred of the (black) foreigner strides ahead of us, singling us out as the continent’s bully and prompting questions that all boil down to “What is wrong with your country?”..

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