An element of wholesome negative stereotyping of Nigeria emerged this weekend when an angry South African described Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) as a Nigerian.

Criminalization of Nigeria and/or Nigerianisation of Crime was a rife menace in South Africa in the early 2000s but subsided a few years ago.

Then, it was not uncommon for many people to describe any African crime suspect as a Nigerian. Even a section of the South African media sponsored the menace.

It has been established that many South Africans believe that majority, if not all Africans living in South Africa are Nigerians, especially if you are not from the southern part of Africa.

Many African criminals in South Africa hide under this biased stereotype cloak. Essentially many West Africans claim they are Nigerians to hide their true identity.

On a few occasions, some South Africans have been corrected to no avail.

“Don’t tell me that he is not Nigerian. I don’t care. He is not South African. He is a foreigner, so he is Nigerian”.

Funnily enough, some people unwittingly believe that the word Nigerian means a foreigner, especially the one not from Southern Africa.

Angry community members in Pretoria are calling for Prophet Bushiri to leave South Africa, as the church was charged with defeating the ends of justice and interfering with police work for moving the bodies of three women who died during a stampede in the church last week without reporting to police.

This protest led to Abram Mashishi, treasurer of the South African National Civic Organisation in Tshwane describing Prophet Bushiri as a Nigerian, as reported by EWN.

In his words: “We cannot have a situation whereby this Nigerian prophet doesn’t make money in his own country and decide to come here [South Africa]. If they are prophets, they must go back to Nigeria and make money there. Enough is enough; we cannot lose our loved ones, people who die like their animals. He can’t even apologise to South Africans”.

If a man has highly placed as Abram does not know that Prophet Bushiri is from Malawi, Nigeria may stay longer than usual in this hot soup of ignorant negative stereotyping.

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Femi Oshin
Femi Oshin 188 posts

Femi Oshin is a publisher at and Producer /Presenter of Agogo Ayo on Africa Magic Yoruba.

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