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Xenophobic Protests In South African Cities

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This essay’s discussion is about the Xenophobic Protests in the Cities of South Africa. Xenophobia is defined as irrational fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or anything strange or foreign according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionery. One might redefine Xenophobic attacks in South Africa as the self hatred amongst the black people, as it looks like only black people are involved in this attacks and mostly they are attacking each other. It is just a lynching of Africans by other Africans.

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One of the major reasons why these Xenophobic Protests are taking place is the rate of unemployment in the country. The South African citizens who are mostly involved in these protests have those stereotypical thoughts that the foreign nationals came to south Africa to steal their jobs. And most of the time you find that the protesters are not even qualified for the jobs they are complaining about. Even if the foreign nationals were taking their jobs as they say, no one is allowed to take the law in to their own hands. It is fully the governments responsibility and duty to resolve the unemployment issue in their country not for them to start the protests and start Blaming the foreigners for their unemployment. The cruelty of these xenophobic protests is just the same as the cruelty of apartheid as the foreign nationals are never free and they are always scared that the mob might just start killing them and looting from them at any given time. The only difference is that the xenophobic protest are carried out by blacks to blacks.

The xenophobic protests elevated when the Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini issued a hate speech towards the foreign nationals. According to Staff writer, SA Breaking news, April 2015, King Goodwill said “Forgive me but I must speak, The immigrants should take their bags and go”. Whenever there is a protest in the city either for the service delivery or any other protest, the foreigners shops are being looted and destroyed but those ones owned by South Africans are being left out. There is a women who left her family in DRC Congo and came to South Africa to search for a job that will help sustain her family and provide for their needs. How suprising the police officers were also roaming around Hillbrow searching for Identity documents and passports and arresting those who don’t have them and that also instils fear in the foreigners and also influence the locals to abuse them.

The Foreigners did not come to South Africa to steal the South Africans jobs they came to seek for greener pastures and find a living for themselves as well. There is a stereotypical idea that the foreigners came to south Africa to steal and corrupt the country. That is also an influence to these xenophobic protests as the residence always take a blame on the foreigners whenever someone goes missing or whenever a criminal activity has occurred. Most of these protests that took place resulted in deaths of many foreigners as some of them were burned alive and some stoned to death by the protesters. According to a study in 2004 by the centre of the study of violence and reconciliation of attitudes amongst police officers in the Johannesburg area found that 87% of respondents believed that most undocumented immigrants in Johannesburg are involved in crime, despite there being no statistical evidence to sustain their perception whatsoever.

The division of Africans by borders that were not even created by them has created barriers amongst them and gave birth to hatred and division between them. South Africans seem to have forgotten that they were struggling prior to apartheid and the foreigners helped accommodate those who went to exile in their countries. They are being violent towards those they will turn to if things start falling apart. They are biting the hand that once fed them during their time of the struggle.

According to all Africa 5 March 2015, violence erupted in the Ga-Sekgopho area after a foreign shop owner was found in possession of a mobile phone belonging to a local man who was killed weeks before. Before even listening to what the shop owner had to say the protesters started accusing him of the local man’s death. Every foreigner was forced to flee the area immediately leaving all their belongings behind. It seems as if the South African citizens are always ready to rage war against the foreigners. They are always waiting for a little mistake to be done by the foreign nationals and then they will start a protest and attack the foreigners. Since the government is doing less to get rid of the reasons behind these Xenophobic protests, it does not seem like they are anywhere near ending. They are just silent waiting for the right moment to erupt. With the rising rates of unemployment rates, crime rates and other economical matters and most importantly the perception that foreign nationals are financially and economically stable than the local south African citizens will forever keep the tension going on between the locals and the foreign nationals.

15 July 2020

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