Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Xenophobia rages in SA

I was sent this disturbing image today. The more unfactual elements of the Nigerian press are reporting that the 100,000 strong Nigerian community are being targeted. This is not the case - most of those being hacked and burnt to death are Zimbabweans.

As usual, we can rely on the utterly ineffectual Mbeki to stay ingloriously silent at times like this...


Sandrine 5:36 pm  

Hi Jeremy,
This is a terrible picture.Here is a related story on BBC news


excerpt (the last sentence is really heartbreaking and showing how desperate the situation is becoming):
"Stu" escaped from Zimbabwe in January, crossing the border for the sanctuary of South Africa.Now - fearing for his life - he's trying to flee back, after a wave of xenophobic violence targeting immigrants in townships around Johannesburg.
"I ran away from the situation in Zimbabwe to try to support my family," says the 24-year old, who is too afraid to give his full name.
"But it's better to starve at home than to die here. At least, if I'm back in Zimbabwe, my parents can bury me and see my grave."

EgbaChief,  5:59 pm  

more photos http://multimedia.thetimes.co.za/photos/2008/05/xenophobic-attacks/

Anonymous,  11:07 pm  

OMG!! OMG!! this is heartbreaking and terrible. What is wrong with the world?

Anonymous,  10:58 am  

mbeki's fault for not doing anything at all about zim for the last nine years. words fail me for how useless the man is. makes gordon brown look dynamic and effective.

Anonymous,  12:21 pm  

stop parroting the line of the western media. this has nothing to do with zim ( or zim alone) but everything to do with southern africa's long standing xenophobia. it even exists in botswana

Anengiyefa 2:12 pm  

Little education, too much alcohol, widespread unemployment and poverty. A lethal combination.

Added to these, the fact that South Africans have a reputation for wanton violence. A country where rape and murder occur frequently, South African cities are among the few places on earth where it is common for innocent people to be shot dead in the streets for the contents of their wallets or handbags.

Maybe this is a spillover from the protracted and often violent struggle against the oppression of apartheid, but it seems that the disenchantment felt by many poor black South Africans in the aftermath of apartheid, has exacerbated this violent propensity.

Xenophobia does not always have to translate into violence.

anonymaus,  2:42 pm  

I'm not sure if this is an African thing or what, but such killings are not unusual in Nigeria, they have even occurred in Kenya, it seems South Africa wants to join such an undesirable club (the club of feeble law enforcement and questionable arbiters of justice)!
This one ugly side of human nature, that refuses to fade into history...

Anonymous,  7:13 pm  

Oh South Africa. A country where the Oyinbo left the political sphere but still retained their chokehold on the economic destiny of that country. A nation where four (white-dominated) companies control perhaps 70% of their economy? A nation where the oyinbo farmlands cannot be touched, where the ANC has refused to address the touchy land issue.

Yet it's the black migrants the black South Africans turn on.... hmmm... na wa o.

Patrick Cowsill 5:24 pm  

"Xenophobia does not always have to translate into violence."

Can it translate to something splendid and meaningful then? Cultural psychologists, I'm thinking of Gordon Allport in particular, have seen concepts such as prejudice, ethnocentric behavior and xenophobia as working on a scale. The earliest stages might not translate into violence, and instead could simply mean avoidance. But that's only a starting point for something that gets uglier and uglier. (Remember in Nazi Germany; it took them a while to get from pogroms to concentration camps and then the final solution.)

Anengiyefa 12:37 am  

@patrick cowsill, as you know xenophobia is an unreasonable fear, distrust or hatred of strangers or foreigners. Nothing in that definition suggests violence. There have been non-violent expulsions of foreigners from various countries, (including Nigeria), for the very same reasons that the South Africans are killing foreigners and destroying their property.

I think the point I was making is that the predisposition of South Africans to violent behaviour, is the reason why the violence has been so indiscriminate, why it spread so rapidly, and has been so brutal.

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