1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
Though I have lived through deplorable times in my native homeland of Zimbabwe, surviving tribal rifts between the Shonas and the Ndebeles and the much horrific genocide of 1989, the gravity of the xenophobic attacks I experienced and suffered here in South Africa, the land of my exile, in 2008 rate as the most significant and traumatic experience of my adult life. The healing process has started, but frankly, I must concede, not only do we, the victims, need healing, but also all of South Africa needs therapy. In addition to that, the entire African continent needs a thorough introspection to diagnose and cure the malignant malady gnawing at its intestines: relying on external aid to solve unwarranted internal disputes.
No one really knows who lit the fire but I witnessed it consuming my fellow victims at a frenzied rate. People were burnt to death, houses and businesses owned by refugees were looted in broad day light. Johannesburg, the business hive of South Africa became holocaust. Innocent children, reputable men and women, not to mention venerable grey headed folks, were brutalized publicly. I saw my life at stake, really never been endangered as then. Probably more agony was arising from loneliness and nostalgia; with neither my mother nor brother to wipe my tears as usual, my mind was in turmoil. I felt hopelessly vulnerable, like a chicken breast at the butcher man's table. I wandered through the days with a faint soul but only benevolence propelled me further. Hell was loosed upon the land and the African version of "the land of milk and honey" had turned into Sodom and Gomorrah.
The media alerted the world, flooded the news with horrible pictures, one of which depicted a scenario I escaped from by mere inches, when two men from Congo were burnt to death, but all fell on deaf ears. The world was more interested in the price of crude and how America will deal with its mortgage problems. Africans are just fond of killing each other; I believe that is what the world thought. Few ineffective threats were made, but it was business as usual as hundreds of refugees were murdered like flies and millions others displaced. I asked myself, "Who exactly am I?" I came to South Africa to seek refuge from the tyranny of Zimbabwean government and the claws of poverty; I had to further seek refuge from my hosts, regarded by the civilized world as the most hospitable on the African continent. The earth just had to swallow me.
Still mystified by the smell of death, I wondered not only why all that was happening, but also who will emancipate me from that detestable scourge. Ultimately, I fully convinced myself that if it is not me, no one will ever do. Everyone has heard my cries; the world was fully aware of the crisis. Everyone had given me a cold shoulder so I was the solution. I saw answer not in retaliation, revenge or more bloodshed. I knew the most brutal feud in Africa, crying out for external help, commonly, for alleviation of poverty. The attacks posed a new challenge, different from the former but however, it opened my eyes even wider and loaded my heart with a passionate dream: to see a united and civilized Africa, with educationally empowered men who can lead the nations with wisdom and zeal to solve issues as a family. Men of Africa should arise, be independent and be courageous to subordinate tribes to love. Certainly I want to be one among the pioneers.