Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans

African communities living in South Africa are afraid. Xenophobia is in full swing, and hate speech against foreigners is rampant, even from the top of the state. Every month, the press reports attacks on African communities, resulting in injuries, insults and deaths. Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans.

Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans

Congolese community frightened

In South Africa, the Congolese community is concerned about the safety of its citizens in the country. According to the media “Diaspora online“, early this Monday (15) morning of March 2015, a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo was burned alive in the city of Durban. The causes are not yet known, but the rise of xenophobia is significant in the country.

The man was working in a nightclub where he was providing security. According to witnesses, a group of about four people doused him with gasoline and then set him on fire. The victim died a few hours later in hospital. The cause of the attack is not yet known, but associations for the protection of African nationals fear a xenophobic attack.

The country experienced a wave of violence against foreigners in 2009, during which nearly 70 people were killed. And since the beginning of the year, attacks on foreign traders have increased. In January, several hundred traders, including Somalis, were forced to leave the township of Soweto after their stores were attacked and looted.

Since then, the incidents have been recurrent. The authorities still refuse to talk about xenophobia, but rather about crime. However, xenophobia exists in South Africa. It is fueled by poverty and inequality. Last year, for example, 70 Somali traders died in an attack on their stores.

3 Nigerians injured in new attacks

In 2020, Nigerians and other foreigners residing in South Africa were victims of new xenophobic attacks.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three Nigerians were injured in the attacks which took place in Witbank in Mpumanlaga province.

Nigeria Union of South Africa (NUSA) spokesman Odefa Ikele said the attacks started early in the morning.

People stand behind a banner a protest against xenophobia outside of the main gate of the South African High Commission which was shut down to avert reprisal attacks in Abuja, on September 5, 2019.

200,000 Zimbabweans on borrowed time

Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans:

“About 200,000 Zimbabweans are living on borrowed time in South Africa,” summarizes the pan-African weekly The Continent. They are living in the country thanks to a “Zimbabwean Exemption Permit”, a residence permit introduced more than ten years ago to allow Zimbabweans fleeing the political violence and hyperinflation of the late 2000s to take refuge in South Africa. But in late 2021, with hostility toward African migrants rising again among South Africans, the government announced it would not renew the permits.

Zimbabweans, who numbered nearly 700,000 in South Africa in 2020 according to the United Nations, are the first victims of this xenophobic wave. The South African government’s decision has caused panic among Zimbabwean exemption permit holders. They have until the end of the year to leave the country or risk deportation, “unless they find another visa to apply for”, explains The Continent.

Many know they have no chance. That’s the case of Rufaro Gwatidzo (not his real name), who arrived in the country at the age of 6. “He considers himself to be South African, even though he does not have the nationality, and cannot imagine a life in Zimbabwe,” comments the weekly. As a last resort, the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association is attempting legal action, calling the decision “irrational”


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