South Africa: Violence Against Non-Nationals and Women Affects All of Us, Whoever We Are

#AmINext protesters wearing black in support of the fight against gender-based violence took their demonstrations to the gates of Parliament and the Cape Town CBD.

Xenophobia and gendered violence are pervasive in policing, education, workspaces, healthcare, documentation and housing - and especially in the failure of the Department of Home Affairs to administer a functional system for asylum seekers and other migrants.

The recent xenophobic violence in Johannesburg leaves a sickening feeling in your gut because of its familiarity and your feeling of helplessness and shame. The vibrancy and vitality of Johannesburg's cities have in two days been closed up behind rolled down metal doors, the goods inside stolen and looted, some burnt. In many instances, people have fled what was once their shop during the day and their home at night. We all feel it. We all fear going to work, leaving for home. Will we get there safely? Xenophobic violence affects us all.

South Africa has for far too long relied on the myth of non-nationals being the reason for all our social ills: crime, systemic unemployment and rampant homelessness that are actually a legacy of apartheid but that persist after some two decades of democracy. This myth has now become a normalised construct, a language which gives a reason to exorcise the humanity from people. We experienced the shattering xenophobic experiences of...

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