“They all steal”

“They (Africans) all steal”

While speaking with a colleague at MSF after some things went missing, he declared that all Africans steal. This type of sentiment is very common among the international or expatriate staff at MSF. There is an “us” and “them” attitude towards national staff. MSF policies encourage this attitude with grossly differential pay scales and benefits.


One thought on ““They all steal”

  1. I was once in a meeting with a few senior managers from MSF in Brussels, discussing plans for a survey in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), when one of the highly respected directors who’s spent more than 10 years working in Khayelitsha burst into a racist rant about how South African national staff are all “victims” and how “everyone wants something”. He went on to compare South African nationals to Kenyans and Malawians saying that we have no work ethic, this was to make the point that employing staff for the survey was not going to be easy. Sadly, I was the only South African national of colour at the table and I was so shocked that I didn’t say anything. The incident was never discussed or mentioned again. But if this is the attitude from someone who’s spent so long working in the country, what can we expect from people who come there for a few months at a time?

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