The hostility towards Africans by Africans: Why is it tougher for Africans to travel around Africa?

The hostility towards Africans by Africans: Why is it tougher for Africans to travel around Africa?


One would think that the brutality suffered by Africans during the colonial era will make its inhabitants more united, unfortunately, the reverse is the reality, we are more divided than we had been in the past. For so long, the color of one’s skin and the texture of one’s hair have been a subject of concern given its ability to barricade global mobility. It is not hearsay that it is more complicated for an African to legitimately acquire a visa for international visits than citizens of any other continent. 

Even when granted a visa to travel, countless African travelers have recounted stories of being victims of discrimination or inhumane treatment at some foreign airports; these treatments in some instances result in their deportation.

The high influx of black immigrants into white Western countries accompanied by a high number of disappearances among African visitors in these nations may have resulted in this dilemma. Countries like Seychelles (In Africa) and Dubai, are among the few countries that have either placed stringent requirements or temporary bans on Nigerians visiting their countries. When Donald Trump’s administration added more countries to his list of travel bans, 4 out of the 6 countries added were African countries, including the largest country in Africa – Nigeria. While these steps might be attributed to the atrocities being conducted by a few, it is very unfortunate that those with legitimate reasons for travel often suffer the brunt. 

The purpose of this article is not in any way meant to undermine the efforts made by these Western countries in safeguarding the sanity of their immigration processes, rather, it is meant to highlight a prevalent yet scarcely discussed issue bothering the African continent – “The hostility towards Africans by Africans”.

Tunisia and South Africa have the headlines in recent years for being among the most hostile countries for black African migrants, with South Africa, going as far as to create an organization – Dudula (Now a political party) aimed at stamping out black immigrants off the nation’s coffers, this was after the heightened era of xenophobic attacks against black Africans in 2015. 

While these two countries (Tunisia & South Africa) have earned royalty in their disdainful act, no African country can claim innocence of a similar crime. For those born and bred in Nigeria; There is an acute familiarity with the popular bag called ‘Ghana Must Go’ – This name was coined in 1983 following the executive order by the then Nigerian President Shehu Shagari for all undocumented immigrants to leave the country, Most of the immigrants at that time were of West African descent and over 1 million of them were Ghanaians. Before the unfolding of these events in the 1980s, Ghana had also carried out a similar policy in 1969 and the law instituted by the Nigerian Government was considered by many as a retaliation. 

Although many of the instances of hatred towards fellow Africans are products of illegal immigration arising from conflicts in neighboring countries and harsh economic challenges in some other African countries, the ugly treatment isn’t still justified, not especially when Legal black African migrants are been treated poorly compared to their white counterparts from other continents as is the case in South Africa. 

The hostility towards Africans by Africans goes beyond migration, the seed of racism is well intertwined within the narrative. Many times on social media comment boxes, you will find inhabitants from East and North Africa disassociating the origin of their races from any connections with Africa and will instead prefer to link their origins to the Asian or European continent even though they have no empirical or historical evidence to back up their claims.

In countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, or Algeria, some inhabitants do not even consider themselves Africans despite being well situated within the African continent, the feeling of inferiority among some of the inhabitants of these countries has transcended their knowledge of geography and how it relates to continental origin. This separation has been reflected not just in the degraded treatment of fellow Africans, it has also reared its ugly head in other prominent activities including sports as we saw in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after Morocco’s victory against Portugal in the quarter-finals. Despite Morocco having a huge fan base support from Africa, A player (Sofaine Boufal) who was appointed to speak on behalf of the team failed to acknowledge the support of African fans but instead acknowledged the support of the Arabian community. 

Aside from the need for seamless travel across the continent which can bolster trade and improve the economic welfare of the people, the heightened inter-regional, ethnic, and tribal conflict within African communities is also a serious source of concern that no amount of written words can discern. 

The need for greater collaboration within the African continent cannot be overemphasized and the solution is not far-fetched. Solving this problem requires a clear distinction between realistic propositions and those that are unattainable. Eliminating the menace of illegal migration is unattainable, however, it can be reduced. Hatred and hostility towards Africans are by far the least efficient way to curb these inefficiencies in immigration processes. Creating more legal immigration pathways is one way to go. Corruption is also a big impediment to sane immigration laws, implementing strict penalties for country officials who flaunt these laws can help sanitize the process, Lastly, another way to go about discouraging illegal immigration is to clamp down on institutions or sectors in host countries that exploit the cheap labor of illegal immigrants. More often, the main drivers of these nefarious activities are those bonafide citizens profiting from the unsuspecting immigrants and the loopholes in the system.

Africa deserves just the same respect as any other continent, and if that respect can’ be earned by Africans in Africa, it can’t be earned by Africans elsewhere. The tendencies of some Africans in the Northern region to disassociate themselves from their origin shows the extent of disrespect for one’s self and portrays the ugly effects of declining self-confidence and actualization. The governments and citizens of African Nations have a role to play in building the love for the country and confidence of their people and they should remember that their failures and successes reverberate across the continents, every action has consequences, and so does every silence.  One shouldn’t be Judged by the seals or emblems on their passports.

1 thought on “The hostility towards Africans by Africans: Why is it tougher for Africans to travel around Africa?

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      Profoundly put. However, I think this issue will continue to persist because human beings haven't moved past the "us vs them" stage.

      Moreover, economic prosperity will help but almost all countries have to be economically prosperous for migration to be free flowing.

      Peoe will always look outwards rather than blame themselves for the cause of their problems. Hence, xenophobia will continue to exist.

      Only way we can really earn respect is to be successful.

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