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Xenophobia in south africa

The meaning of «xenophobia in south africa»

Prior to 1994, immigrants from elsewhere faced discrimination and even violence in South Africa. After majority rule in 1994, contrary to expectations, the incidence of xenophobia increased.[1] 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 motivated by xenophobia.[2] In 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens.[3] 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.[4] Between 2010 and 2017 the immigrant community in South Africa increased from 2 million people to 4 million people.[4] The proportion of South Africa's total population that is foreign born increased from 2.8% in 2005 to 7% in 2019, according to the United Nations International Organization for Migration,[5] in spite of widespread xenophobia in the country.[6] This made South Africa the largest recipient of immigrants on the African continent in 2019.[5]

Between 1984 and the end of hostilities in that country, an estimated 50,000 to 350,000 Mozambicans fled to South Africa. While never granted refugee status they were technically allowed to settle in the bantustans or black homelands created during the apartheid system. The reality was more varied, with the homeland of Lebowa banning Mozambican settlers outright while Gazankulu welcomed the refugees with support in the form of land and equipment. Those in Gazankulu, however, found themselves confined to the homeland and liable for deportation should they officially enter South Africa, and evidence exists that their hosts denied them access to economic resources.[7]

Unrest and civil war likewise saw large numbers of Congolese people emigrate to South Africa, many illegally, in 1993 and 1997. Subsequent studies found indications of xenophobic attitudes towards these refugees, typified by them being denied access to the primary healthcare to which they were technically entitled.[7]

Despite a lack of directly comparable data, xenophobia in South Africa is perceived to have significantly increased after the election of a Black majority government in 1994.[8] According to a 2004 study published by the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP):

The ANC government – in its attempts to overcome the divides of the past and build new forms of social cohesion ... embarked on an aggressive and inclusive nation-building project. One unanticipated by-product of this project has been a growth in intolerance towards outsiders ... Violence against foreign citizens and African refugees has become increasingly common and communities are divided by hostility and suspicion.[9]

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