The Perfect Storm: The Realities of Xenophobia in Contemporary South Africa

"The world recently watched with dismay as South African citizens violently attacked foreign nationals in communities across the country. Tens of thousands of migrants were displaced, amid mass looting and destruction of foreign-owned homes, property and businesses. Senior officials and politicians seemed bemused and perplexed by the xenophobic violence. The media was quick to advance several theories about the mayhem. One focused on historical factors, particularly South Africa’s divisive and alienating apartheid past. Another blamed poverty and the daily struggle for existence in many of South Africa’s poorer communities. A third criticized the ANC government for poor service delivery and a failure to redistribute the fruits of the post-apartheid economic boom to the poor. Finally, the country’s immigration policies were seen as at fault. None of these theories explicitly tackles the phenomenon of xenophobia itself."