Scholars revisit 2008 xenophobia

A team of scholars here has compiled a book that revisits the scourge of xenophobia. At least 60 people, including Zimbabweans, were killed when locals brutally attacked African migrants in May 2008, accusing them of stealing their jobs and women.

The recently published book, Exorcising the Demons Within; Xenophobia, Violence and Statecraft in Contemporary South Africa, explores the events and subsequent consequences of the wave of violence.

The attackers reportedly raped dozens of their victims and caused the displacement of more than 100 000 people while property worth millions of Rands was either destroyed or looted.

“Although not the most severe political violence in South Africa’s turbulent past, the 2008 attacks reflect an important moment in the country’s post apartheid, post authoritarian existence: a moment when the government’s legitimacy and the post apartheid order were called into question,” said Lauren Landau, Director of the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand who edited the book.

According to Landau, the book makes sense of recent anti-foreigners violence by situating it within an extended history of South African statecraft that both produced the conditions for the attacks and has been re-shaped by it.

Post published in: Arts

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