Freebooter

Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody

Xenophobia here in South Africa

A few words on the topic that has made world headlines. As ever, trying to find out the reality from the rumour and news headlines is not easy. What reportedly started out as a violent attempt to loot at gunpoint, ended with the loss of a woman’s (looter’s) life. Regardless of the accuracy, any loss of life is a tragedy, just as much for the Somalian storekeeper. What followed lifted the lid on an undercurrent of ill feeling. For sure the cameras show the looting, but what is coming out runs much deeper.

There are European parallels before we get too condemnatory. If you talk to Zimbabweans, they will tell you that Zulus resent their jobs, and I have no doubt that the converse would be equally stated. But in a country of 25% unemployment with minimal state support, these issues can be extremely serious.

Having (mis-)statements from Kings and Cabinet Ministers can inflame as much as subdue. The spread of trouble from Durban to Johannesburg makes it very real, especially talking to friends who live in the affected township. All this in a place that is only 2-3 miles from the most affluent part of the city.

The one light in all of this is that it has sparked universal condemnation and marches from all walks of life. Just maybe some hope and some good might come out of this dreadful outbreak of violence.

Anti Xenophobia Posters on a school wall in the middle of Rosebank

Anti Xenophobia Posters on a school wall in the middle of Rosebank

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This entry was posted on April 27, 2015 by in Africa, Uncategorized.
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