New Xenophobic Attacks Against African Migrants Due To Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric By Politicians

Blame governments for worsening world poverty
Poor African children (Photo: Reuters)

Xenophobic violence erupted again in South Africa as anti-immigrant rhetoric was ramped up by politicians. Recent events included attacks against Malawians living in South Africa that killed two people.

According to reports, the Malawians living with South Africans in a squatter camp along the outskirts of Durban were attacked by their neighbors last week. Reports said that not less than 100 individuals crowded the police station seeking protection. The Malawians were housed in a tent in an open field after the attack.

Another incident involved vigilantes who were claimed to have found a Malawian man with stolen goods. Reports said that Malawians in the settlement were targeted as retribution over several days. South African officials intervened on April 1 to pacify the situation. The local Islamic Society and other NGOs assisted through negotiations. The Malawian community of Durban wrote a letter of apology on behalf of the Malawian man caught stealing. There were no reported arrests over the incident.

Records of Xenophobic attacks were traced in the region since recent years. A Malawian man, Elias Twaibu, barely survived the attack in 2015 in Durban that killed several people. After the incident, Elias went back home to Malawi but decided to return to South Africa because of the country's economic straits.

He said during an interview with Sunday Tribune, Durban's local weekly, that coming back to a country that stripped him of his dignity became his only option because he was so desperate and impoverished that I came back here. He said that it's a decision he truly regrets making after the incidents occurred last week.

The Xenophobic attacks do not only target Malawians. It also involves Somalis, Congolese, Mozambicans, Nigerians, and Zimbabweans over the last decade.

The attack in 2015 was fuelled by the comments made by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini as he showcases his military strength. The recent attacks came a week after anti-immigrant rhetoric of South African politicians. Cyril Ramaphosa said that he condemns the attacks. He reminded the South Africans that they owe a debt of gratitude to their African neighbors over their support during the struggle against racial discrimination. The president, however, was heard accusing foreigner during his campaign trail, days before the attacks, of depleting the nation's resources. He said that everybody just arrives in our townships and rural areas and set up businesses without licenses and permits. He said that they are going to bring this to an end the trend.

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