xenophobic attacks in south africa Essay

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In May 2008 violence commonly viewed as xenophobic attacks erupted in South Africa leaving a number of foreign nationals dead and some displaced. This paper through a quantitative research that I have conducted aims to uncover the main motives or should I say the root reasons behind the xenophobic attacks that took stage in 2008. Before attempting any overview of xenophobic attacks, it is essential to clarify what we mean by the term and this is not a straightforward task. Xenophobia is the dislike or fear of what is different from oneself. It derives from the Greek words 'xenos' meaning foreigner and 'phobos' meaning 'fear' (Adam Habib 1996). The xenophobic attacks that occurred in South Africa targeted illegal immigrants that had and still are finding shelter in the country. The protests were carried out in a very violent and aggressive manner which drew the whole international attention on South Africa. The media as outlined by the article titled "The perfect storm" written by Crush J was quick to formulate theories that led to the xenophobic attack outbreak but none of the theories managed to clearly specify the occurrence of xenophobia itself. It was disconcerting few weeks after the attacks to hear from public commentary the long list of public policies, practices and circumstances that were said to have contributed to and exacerbated matters. Past migrant labour policies, current immigration and refugee policies, weak border controls, the hiring of seasonal farm workers, unemployment, quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe, inequitable housing policies, the issuance of identification documents, the provision of social security, corrupt policing, the proliferating informal urban settlements, competition for scare resources, crime, and a disconnected government that no longer...

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