RACIAL discrimination will soon become a global pandemic if the United Nations and nations of the world do not act now, warns Vernon Mwaanga.
Mwaanga, a former information minister diplomat and politician recalled that in the early days of the United Nations took a strong stand against racial discrimination in the world.
He said UN passed a declaration against racial discrimination at the time many African countries were still under colonial rule and apartheid, which legitimised discrimination against black people, on grounds that white people were superior to blacks.
“In South Africa, the white racists went so far as to say that apartheid represented what the disciples of apartheid justified as ‘ethnic purity’. Here in Zambia and many other African countries, residential areas, education and health facilities were racially segregated. White children had their own separate schools. The University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka as we know it today was called Lusaka Central Hospital and had separate racially divided sections. We the owners of our country could not enter hotels like the then Ridgeway and Lusaka Hotel, Edinburgh hotel in Kitwe, Savoy Hotel in Ndola, North Western and Fairmount hotels in Livingstone and the list goes on. In Lusaka, blacks lived in Chilenje, Matero and Kabwata. Later Kamwala was built and added to the list,” Mwaanga said.
Mwaanga remembered that coloureds lived in Thornpark, Indians lived in Madras while the British allocated themselves Kabulonga, Woodlands, Rhodespark, Northmead.
He further evoked that the non-English speaking whites like Greeks and Italians were lived in Roma.
“Blacks were not allowed to buy spirits such as Whisky, Gin, Brandy, Vodka or Wine, except a handful of so called educated Africans, who were given special permits to purchase limited amounts of spirits by the Colonial Provincial Commissioner. Africans were expected to drink castle, lion, Chibuku and the infamous ‘seven days’. Blacks could not enter chemists, butcheries, restaurants or departmental stores. They had to go to a pigeon hole to make their purchases. This is how far we have come,” he stated in a statement.
Mwaanga said documented research showed that racial discrimination nearly all over the world had been on the ascendancy for a number of years.
He recollected that African footballers and other sports personalities had been subjected to racial abuse and chants of “monkey, monkey monkey”, even in the so-called liberal and racially tolerant countries.
“Something has gone horribly wrong in our so-called globalised village. Racism must be treated as a matter of growing concern. The moral disease of racism spans communities, countries and continents. People around the world all belong to one human race. All human beings share fear of domination and subjugation. Humankind has been unable to embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of the various ethnic groups. Instead, fear has taken over. In the last few years, we have witnessed xenophobia in a number of countries. The simple definition of xenophobia is intense fear and dislike of foreigners or simply put ethnic intolerance. This has become a disease of epidemic proportions,” Mwaanga said.
Mwaanga warned that the world should not sit idle by and pretend that racism is not a problem.
He noted that racism had become a very serious problem, requiring a global solution.
Mwaanga said every human being deserves respect, because all human beings were born equal in the eyes of God.
“Let us go back to the drawing board and conduct a serious and systematic postmortem and establish what went wrong and how we got to where we are today. If nothing is done quickly, we shall wake one morning and find that racial wars have started, whose consequences will be huge and destabilise our world.”
Mwaanga’s comments come in the wake of racial segregations of some Zambians by some Chinese investors. Lusaka mayor went to the extent of closing down a Chinese restaurant and barbershop, including a factory where Zambians were quarantined for close to two months over what their Chinese masters feared they would import coronavirus to them.