In an attempt to mend ties for their discriminatory behavior, South Africa ended its week-long face-off by making a formal apology to Nigeria after barring 125 Nigerian travelers last Friday at the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. With strict visa requirements between the two countries already, officials were making it even harder for Nigerians to enter by turning down anyone without proper health certificates and yellow fever cards. "We wish to humbly apologize to them, and we have," South Africa's deputy foreign minister, Ibrahim Ibrahim, told reporters. "We are apologizing because we deported a number of people who should not have been deported." But, last Friday wasn't the first time this has happened: Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka was barred and later issued an apology and Nigeria’s former Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe was told that she must be vaccinated against yellow fever and quarantined in 2001.
Experts say the bad relations between the two countries stem from South Africa’s independence when thousands of Nigerians were chased from Zimbabwe to South Africa in mass groups. There’s also perpetuated stereotypes of Nigerians being involved with drugs, fraud, prostitution, and kidnapping that has caused contempt, thus xenophobia, in the nation of Mandela. As part of the apology, the southern nation will send a special envoy to Nigeria to discuss whether or not the yellow fever vaccination card required at airports should be waived or retained with a new number system format.
Are these bad relations between both countries surprising?