Xenophobia is described as an unreasonable or irrational fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers. This now has gripped South Africa, one of the most cosmopolitan countries in Africa. Many believe that this is due to the current economic situation in the country, where locals are eased out of possible jobs and livelihoods by fellow Africans taking on less pay for work. As a result, a backlash against citizens of neighboring African countries by marauding South Africans is now being done and government action has been made to prevent further violence.
The Violence has been simmering
Most of the violence is located in Alexandra Township, where a recent CNN.com report showed how a Mozambican man was surrounded by South African men and then bludgeoned the hapless man with a wrench and stabbed with knives in broad daylight. According to photographer James Oatway, the victim pleaded for mercy but the mob still attacked.
Oatway recounted, ?They looked like hardened thugs, just by their intensity, the way they moved, the expressions on their faces. They wanted one thing and that was to kill Emmanuel (Sithole, the victim). They wanted his blood and nothing was going to stop them from doing that.?
Now, the South African government has mobilized its troops to hard hit areas such as Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal to prevent any further attacks against immigrants and foreigners. Overall, in a report from Aljazeera.com, South African Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed that seven individuals have been killed in the unrest spread over a month now.
The Victims of these atrocities
Amongst those been victimized were individuals from Zimbabwe, Malawi and other nearby neighboring countries. Most of them have come to South Africa to find work during the heyday of the economy. Now, with the economy ailing and work now hard to come by, many local South Africans seek to take their jobs through violent means.
Nqakula announced, ?We come in as a last resort, the army will serve as a deterrent against the crime that we see. There are people who will be critical but those who are vulnerable will appreciate this decision. Now, we (are) deploying because there is an emergency.?
The Past incidents
Alexandra Township, an area where shacks and makeshift homes sit under corrugated roofs amidst trash and other vermin, is a stark contrast to the wealthy area of Sandton nearby.? A report from the Guardian.com said that the recent wave of anti-immigrant violence is the worst experienced since 2008. At the time, 62 people had died because of marauding mobs intent on ridding the country of foreigners.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons contributor