Richard Chemaly
4 minute read
2 Feb 2021
5:15 pm

SA’s Chinese-born MP: how surface-level xenophobia detracts from deeper concerns

Richard Chemaly

By being so typically South African and so easily distracted by the small matter of Xiaomei Havard’s ethnicity and country of birth, we may be forgetting to question her business ties and a myriad other important aspects.

Newly appointed ANC MP, Xiaomei Havard. Picture: Facebook

Aah! Good old xenophobia! That dwelling discontent in our country is strangely weaponised and manifests in obscure ways. Look, it’s not every day you see an Asian lady in a doek, but far be it from me to cry out an accusation of cultural appropriation. That didn’t seem to be the thing upsetting many people in the zeitgeist at the accouchement of Xiaomei Havard’s appointment to serve as a member of Parliament (MP). No, what was the real rain on their braai was that a Chinese-born, yet naturalised South African citizen, took a position that could have been held by...