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SHOULD ESWATINI JOIN SOUTH AFRICA?

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My attention was drawn to a discussion on Facebook about Herman Mashaba of Action SA, who asked the question should Lesotho and Eswatini join South Africa?

Mashaba broached the subject again this week, saying he doesn’t know ‘how, in particular Lesotho and Eswatini, are not part of SA’. He went on to assert that; “It is practically and economically impossible for these countries to survive on their own. The elephant in the room: Will the leaders of these two countries accept a proposal to incorporate?” This statement is fundamentally wrong on all levels. Luxembourg is one of the smallest but the wealthiest countries in the European Union, per capita, and its citizens enjoy a high standard of living. Luxembourg is a major centre for large private banking and its finance sector is the biggest contributor to its economy.

Singapore is one of the smallest countries in Asia, but has overtaken Japan to be the richest Asian economy in financial assets on per capita terms, according to a global wealth report by financial services provider Allianz. Over a decade, the city state’s net wealth per capita grew two-fold to hit 119 000 Euros (US$186 000) in 2020, said a report published in October.
Seychelles had the largest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Africa as of 2021. The value amounted to US$9 700, which was remarkably close to the GDP per capita of Mauritius. Gabon followed closely with US$8 600. Note that all these are very small countries just like Eswatini, Lesotho, and Botswana. This simply means that we can survive very well as a small country now that we can sell globally. Our market must be the world not South Africa and we must specialise in a few areas and be very good at it.

Making of a slave

I had to really think about why Mashaba would assume that it is practically and economically impossible for Lesotho and Eswatini to survive on their own when clearly there are many smaller countries that have survived and have prospered. My mind thought of a book by Willie Lynch titled ‘Letter and the Making of a Slave’. In the book he says when you train a slave, divide the slaves by capitalising on their differences. Make the dark-skinned African-American feel inferior to the light-skinned African-American, hence skin lightening creams are best sellers in Africa. The African-American working in the house must look down upon the one working in the field outside, hence the coconuts who are black on the outside but white on the inside. The African-American from a big plantation must feel superior to the one from a smaller plantation, hence South Africans feel they are better. Africans are still not masters of their own destiny in South Africa, but feel better than those from other African states.

Colonial casualties

We are all colonial casualties on this continent. Former President Jacob Zuma once jokingly lamented that if South Africa were to give back all the land to the three countries namely; Botswana, Eswatini and Lesotho, South Africa would be left with Soweto. The fact that there are more Batswana, emaSwati, and Basotho in South Africa than in their countries should remind us of the historical injustice that happened. The boundaries we basically meant to divide us so we could be ruled. We need to see the bigger picture that we are one people, we are equal regardless of the countries we were placed in by the colonial divide. We are all capable of great things given the opportunity. We also bleed blood and have suffered greatly as a people and survived.

Azania federation

As much as South Africa looks big and economically powerful by African standards, it is very small globally. In fact Africa as a whole represents a very small part of global trade. The debate should not be about Eswatini or Lesotho joining South Africa but about the creation of the Federation of Azania, which would include all SADC States. This would mean a common currency, passport, and common federal laws just like in the United States of America.

The name South Africa is long overdue for change because it is just a location. When German Southwest Africa got her independence she became Namibia. Imagine going around calling yourself Southwest African, but it’s not too difficult as South Africans call themselves just that today, South Africans. The borders were meant to divide the Bantu Africans as the colonial masters divided Africa among themselves. To the Europeans, Americans, Russians, Japanese, Brazilians, and Chinese we are all the same and they despise us equally, despite their best intentions. Racism against Africans is everywhere around the world such that we need to fix our own continent, Africa, to be able to give our future generations a better chance.

Globalisation coming

We need to come together for the common good of our future generations and set aside our differences and embrace of common strength of Ubuntu so we can build the strongest federation ever. Globalisation means the world is open for trade but we must have something to trade and must be efficient and cost-effective in what we do so that each State within the federation specialises and becomes very good at what they do. There is no room for mediocre in world markets. The Chinese have industrialised very fast and we need to catch up. We can’t afford political party squabbles and the selfish enrichment by the few when the rest suffer from poverty caused by inequality. Eswatini can survive globalisation and become one of the richest small countries in the region without South Africa, but through world trade. Botswana has done very well with its diamond industry. Eswatini can do data storage, for example, and earn billions in Dollars. We need to fix our politics first and God willing we will. Comments septembereswatini@gmail.com

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