In what seems to be another resurrection of the laid-to-sleep xenophobia in South Africa, a widespread attack on African nationals by South Africans have begun again following a spate involving an African whom many South Africans referred to as a Nigerian killed a South African taxi driver for trying to prevent him from selling drugs to young South Africans in Pretoria, South Africa, on August 2019.
While the Nigerian government has not really done much, South Africans have taken to vandalizing shops belonging to Africans, particularly Nigerians. Casualties have been recorded while the South African government have remained mum over the recent spate of chaos in some South African cities. But what are the reasons for the Xenophobic attacks?
Reasons for Xenophobia in South Africa
According to South Africans on social media, the reason for the recent spate of xenophobia is as a result of:
- Drugs: Nigerians are the main drug traffickers in Nigeria
- Prostitution: Nigerian citizens are corrupting most of their ladies and leading them into prostitution
- Over 80% of Africans have populated South Africa
- Nigerians and other Africans have taken their juicy jobs
- Nigerians and other Africans are taking their women.
- Immigrants are competing with them over their dwindling resources
- South Africa belongs to South Africans alone.
- Immigrants are taking up jobs and social benefits of South Africans.
The reasons given by these South Africans have given way to questions as to whether or not South Africans are xenophobic but are they, really?
Are South Africans Xenophobic?
Yes, South Africans are xenophobic and the constant attacks on fellow Africans have shown that South Africans are threatened by Africans, particularly doing well in their country. South African rapper, Aka, on July 2019, took to his Twitter page to bemoan the loss of the South African national team at the hands of the Super Eagles, which saw the South Africans crash out of the African Cup of Nation at the quarter-final stage of the tournament. Aka could not hide his disgust over the loss and mentioned that ‘the loss was more than football‘ as they have been ‘losing to Nigerians at EVERYTHING‘.
Apparently, it has always been competition from the South African viewpoint towards Nigerians while Nigerians cannot say the same and AKA’s rant was just one of the many social media revelations about how South Africans perceive Nigerians. A Pew Research poll conducted in 2018 showed that 62% of South Africans viewed immigrants as a burden on society by taking jobs and social benefits and that 61% of South Africans thought that immigrants were more responsible for crime than other groups.
Number of Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa
From 1994 to 2019, there have been over 20 xenophobic riot attacks by South Africans on other Africans in South Africa. The first xenophobic attack in South Africa took place prior to 1994. And between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks. In May 2008, a series of attacks left 62 people dead; although 21 of those killed were South African citizens. The attacks were otivated by xenophobia.
Immigrants in South Africa
Between 2010 and 2017 the immigrant community in South Africa increased from 2 million people to 4 million people. The number is said to be around 5.5 million in 2019.
How many celebrities have condemned South xenophobic attacks?
- Daddy Freeze (OAP and the first celebrity to speak against xenophobia on September 2019)
- Hushpuppi (Nigerian)
- Alibaba (Nigerian Comedian)
- Trevor Noah (South African Comedian)
- Simi (Nigerian Musician)
- YCEE (Nigerian Musician)
- Bukola Saraki (Nigerian Politician)
- Wizkid (Nigerian Musician)
- Ifeanyi Okowa (Governor of Delta State)
- Cassper Nyovest (South African Rapper)
- Juliet Ibrahim (Ghanian Actress)
- Nasty C (South African Rapper)
- Atiku Abubakar (Nigerian Politician)
- Ben Murray Bruce (Nigerian Politician)
- Oby Ezekwsilli
- Abike Dabiri (Nigerian Politician)
- Julius Malema (South African Leader, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF))
- Ferdi Moolman (MTN Founder)
- Femi Fani-Kayode (Ex-Minister, Nigeria)