Citizenship, violence and xenophobia in South Africa: perceptions from South African communities

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2008
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Pillay, V.Barolsky, V.Naidoo, N.Mohlakoana, A.Hadland
KEYWORDS: CITIZENSHIP, PUBLIC OPINION, VIOLENCE, XENOPHOBIA, XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 5309

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Abstract

This report contains findings from a rapid analysis of the recent 'xenophobic' attacks perpetrated mainly against foreign nationals in some of the South Africa's poorest communities. It was commissioned at the request of the CEO of the HSRC, with a brief to be conducted within a two week period. Given the urgency of the problem, the study is intended at this point as a rapid solicitation of the views of South Africans in the communities where violence was most acute in order to better understand it. The violence and unrest accompanying these attacks, which took place in May 2008, left more than 50 people dead and thousands displaced in locales across South Africa. More than sixteen thousand people in Gauteng alone were forced to find alternative living arrangements. According to most reports, the attacks began in Alexandra then spread to other areas in and around Johannesburg, including Cleveland, Diepsloot, Hillbrow, Tembisa, Primrose, Ivory Park and Thokoza. Violence in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Cape Town soon followed.