Hyderabad: Cosmopolitan Hyderabad has a streak of racism that seems to emerge when the city deals with Africans who come here to study in the many universities here.
From racist remarks in public places to denial of accommodation, stereotyping, extortion and even physical attacks, a section of the city is not shy of letting the African students have it all.
Axell Mouassoumy from the Republic of Congo, doing his BSc III at the University College of Science in Saifabad, says that it is a nightmare to find accommodation.
“When we go to apartments to look for flats, the watchmen chase us away stating ‘Africans are not allowed’,” he said.
Faisal Dermane from Togo, a BCom student of Nizam College, says many houseowners stereotype all Africans as criminals. “They openly tell us ‘no room for Africans’. Some call us criminals and drug peddlers,” he said.
African students say it’s very difficult for them to get rooms even in areas where educated professionals stay, in Banjara Hills, Tolich-owki, Sun City, Madha-pur etc.
“People call us names. The ‘N’ word, blacky, blackberry, even ‘monkey’. It happens on the road while driving, at public places and even at the locality we live in. Most students are very good to us in college, but there are a few who use racial slurs,” said Mouassoumy.
He said he had been subjected to physical attacks. “Once, a person threw water at me for no reason,” he said.
Students also face subtle racism. “Sometimes in public places people touch our hair and start laughing,” said Dermane.
Sudan native Mohammed Kebair, a Nizam College student, narrated a story of attempted extortion and public humiliation that two of his friends, students of a private engineering college, faced in Malakpet.
“Two locals were driving their vehicle recklessly after taking a wrong turn. When my friends questioned them, they started abusing them using racial slurs. When the situation turned tense, the police came and took my friends to the police station and impounded their passports. It took two days to get the passports back from the cops. In those two days, the locals who created trouble were asking us money to settle the case,” said Kebair.