Earlier this week, people started mass rioting in places throughout South Africa, including Johannesburg and Pretoria. In what people are calling xenophobic (The fear or hatred of something perceived to be foreign or strange) attacks, many foreign-owned shops were looted.
Reason: The unemployment rate in South Africa is high – 29% – and rioters there are accusing immigrants of taking their jobs.
The major victims?
At least 10 people have been killed, two of whom are foreigners. Although many of the businesses that were targeted are Nigerian-owned and Nigerians think they are the major victims of the attacks, the nationality of victims is yet to be known.
Who is paying for this mess?
South African businesses that operate across Africa have been attacked in reprisals for xenophobic violence in the country. The riots are causing particularly severe tensions in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy. Over 420 arrests have been made following the attacks, MTN has shut down all operations across Nigeria.
Who is unhappy about this?
- Madagascar calls off friendly with South Africa
- Air Tanzania suspends flights to South Africa
- Anti-South Africa protests in DRC
- Zambia shuts three South African malls
- Zambia football body cancels match with SA
- Nigerian celebrities, Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage cancel expected performance in South Africa.
On the brighter side
Local airline, Air Peace, offers free evacuation of Nigerians in South Africa to return to their country. Also, the violence seems to have been exaggerated & aggravated by false images – it’s not as bad as people portray it to be online. Please check, double-check before you share!
Bottom line: As per Skimm, This isn’t the first time there’ve been xenophobic attacks in South Africa. But the rise in violence is pointing to how major economic strains there can increase social tensions – and lead to deadly consequences.