South Africa: Xenophobia - Mobilisations May Fuel the Flames of Hatred

Demonstrators protesting violence against women and demanding to see President Cyril Ramaphosa clash with police outside the Cape Town Convention Centre where the World Economic Forum on Africa summit is being held.
opinion

Mobilisations are misguided. By making migrants the centre of these discussions, middle-class activists are alienating the poor and drawing lines in the township soil.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. Xenophobia is real. Xenophobic violence kills. No matter how much South Africa's political leaders deny it, South Africa has all the hallmarks of a table-topper in the xenophobia league.

Deportations? Got 'em and we want more.

Discrimination in accessing healthcare? Yes. But we do better, we shut them out and then blame them for taking it from others.

Trump-admiring politicians and scapegoating? Oh boy, let it flow like manna from heaven.

Social media missives? We could fill a library.

Street-level looting and marauding while the police look the other way? Yeah, we've got that too. And if you don't like the violence that happened yesterday, there's the 2015 attacks; the 2010 threats; the 2008 melee ... you get the idea.

But while South Africans are quick to condemn US President Donald Trump and the Europeans for their racism against Africans, where is the mobilisation? Or, more precisely, why have past mobilisations failed to deliver on their promises of "never again"?

Ironically, the answer is that the mobilisations are misguided....

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