By Nonduduzo Kunene | 2018-12-10
Swazi soldiers studying abroad want to come back home.
It is alleged that Eswatini soldiers receiving military training in Russia are threatening to come back home.
It is alleged that UEDF members are ill-treated in Russia because of the colour of their skin. Russia is one of the countries in the world that records high cases associated with racism.
According to sources closer to the matter the Swazi government is not making things better for them. Amongst other things, it is said that their allowances take a significant time to be deposited into their accounts. This makes their well being extremely harder.
“Imagine living in a foreign country without money, with no relatives to help you. Russia is not just a country next door of which you can just take a bus home,” said the source.
It was further said that the soldiers were afraid to voice out the problems in fear of losing their jobs for having communicated such information.
“They are even afraid to talk because they could be fired from work. The last time one newspaper reported such information, those who communicated with the newspaper were brought back home and were also fired.”
According to UEDF Communications and Information Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo this cannot be true.
“Such allegations cannot be true because as the communications and information office we have not received such news. One thing I’m sure of is that all members of UEDF abroad are taken care of.”
However, Khumalo added that she could not totally dismiss the claims but nothing was communicated to them by their superiors or any of the abroad soldiers.
The number of soldiers in Russia was not disclosed for security reasons.
“Unfortunately, I cannot disclose the number of soldiers getting training overseas for various reasons.”
Official attitudes towards African people were generally neutral during the Soviet Union, because of its internationalist agenda.
As a part of its support of decolonisation of Africa, the Soviet Union offered free education for citizens of African states.
African students (as well as other foreign students) were placed in many higher education institutions throughout the country, most famously at Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, then known as the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship Uni-versity, after the Congolese revolutionary and prime minister.
In recent survey, Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy found that over half of Africans in Moscow had been physically attacked in the past. Attacks in Moscow Metro are common, and "monkey" insults are so frequent that students have ceased reporting them.
In 2010, Jean Sagbo became the first black man in Russia to be elected to government. He is a municipal councilor in the village of Novoza-vidovo, 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Moscow.
Posters and toys depicting Barack Obama as a monkey were sold in Russian stores in 2015, and Member of Duma Irina Rodnina has publicly posted a picture showing Obama with a banana on Twitter.
A Tatar owned supermarket in Tatarstan sold calendars with images of American President Obama depicted as a monkey and initially refused to apologise for selling the calendar. They were then forced to issue an apology later.
In mid-2016, after tensions rose between the US and Russia, a Tatarstan ice cream factory produced "Obamka" (little Obama) ice cream with packaging showing a black child wearing an earring; the move was seen as an illustration of both anti-Americanism in Russia and enduring, Soviet-era racism in the country.
The company, which stated that the ice cream was not intended to be political, halted production of the line shortly after the controversy arose.
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