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South Africa Erupts Into Xenophobic Violence

South Africa is currently enduring a bloody wave of violence as police scramble to arrest looters, rioters, and arsonists in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

According to Al-Jazeera, angry protesters appear to be targeting businesses owned by foreigners from other parts of Africa. Xenophobia has been a major part of world politics lately and that sentiment is as alive in the Motherland as anywhere else.

News 24, a South African news agency, said Monday’s riots came after hundreds of people marched in Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) demanding foreigners leave. They targeted “shops they believed to be owned by foreign nationals”, it reported.

Thing is, a building in the CBD was burned to the ground and three people were killed. Additionally, shops in the business district of Pretoria, largely populated by economic migrants, were also torched.

Police Minister Bheki Cele doesn’t believe that these attacks are bigoted:

“Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” he told reporters on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality.”

If that is true, then how would Minister Cele explain the social media virality of hate propaganda.

The pamphlet, attributed to a group called the Sisonke Peoples Forum, accused foreigners living in South Africa of selling drugs and stealing jobs, both common refrains during the regular flare-ups of violence against foreigners in the greater Johannesburg area in recent years.

We hope and pray that everyone in the hotbed areas stays safe.



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