Journalist, Chika Oduah has shared the xenophobia experience she had in 2016.
Read the story she shared in a series of tweets on her official twitter handle.
I was pulled aside by an “official” upon arriving at the Cape Town airport from Nigeria. 2016. I had come as a finalist for the CNN African Journalist Award.
My first experience with xenophobia in South Africa:
The man who pulled me aside at the airport was hostile. He demanded that I follow him to a room. The man was not wearing any type of official uniform, therefore I hesitated to follow him anywhere.
I tried to go to baggage claim. The man blocked my path, standing in front of me. He did not allow me to move. Me being a Nigerian female traveling alone to South Africa aroused his suspicion.
The man was rough, shouting at me. I’m very soft-spoken. I was extremely uncomfortable. People were looking at me as if I was a criminal. No one came to help me. I felt trapped. I wanted to cry.
He asked for my profession. I told him, journalist.He smirked and rolled his eyes.
He asked where? I told him, I work with Aljazeera. He said, ” I’ve never heard if Al Jazeera.” He told me to follow him to a room. I refused.
In that moment, I understood what so many Africans living in South Africa must have felt: xenophobic hostility. I told the man I was in town for the CNN African Journalist Award. He rolled his eyes again. He blocked my path.
Finally, a woman came. I saw she was wearing an airport staff uniform. I told her what was going on and she came to my rescue, scolding the man right there. He was furious. I left and realized my hands were shaking.
My second experience with Xenophobia In SouthAfrica
In the taxi, the driver didn’t know I was Nigerian. He heard my American accent. He said it’s a good thing I’m not Nigerian. Why, I asked.
“Because if you were Nigerian I would have robbed you.”
The way my heart leaped…