Violence and xenophobia in South Africa: developing consensus, moving to action

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 5504
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/5188

Download this report

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at


This report is a response to the outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa in May 2008. It is based on a roundtable hosted in June 2008 in Pretoria that was attended by around 50 key stakeholders from government, civil society and from affected communities. It was the result of a partnership between the Democracy and Governance (D&G) research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the British High Commission of South Africa. The roundtable and this report build on a rapid field study carried out by D&G in the immediate aftermath of the violence that left more than 60 people dead and tens of thousands displaced. The study was entitled Citizenship, Violence and Xenophobia in South Africa: Perceptions from South African Communities, and was handed to Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya on 5 June 2008. A number of recommendations were made in the study that were explored more deeply during the course of the roundtable. After a number of presentations from scholars and community representatives, these recommendations were debated, refined and recast as a set of consensual principles. The underlying hope is that a repeat of the tragedy of May 2008, an experience that many countries have endured, will be avoided.