Evil constrained by society

2008-06-06 00:00

The xenophobic violence engulfing the country is not only about foreigners taking jobs away from local black people. The underlying problems are deeper and more sinister than that. President Thabo Mbeki’s suggestion that a task force be set up to debate the issue is correct, although, as usual, his erudite approach missed the reality and immediate urgency of the problem.

In the late eighties and early nineties violence engulfed the country with schools in particular becoming battlegrounds where pupils and police clashed daily. For thousands of people any hopes of an education disappeared as schools burnt and exams were abandoned. Most of those people are now in their 30s and find themselves marginalised, frustrated and angry. Although the lives of many black people have improved post-1994, there remain thousands who are no better off. These people represent a dangerous rogue element that threatens society. The rainbow nation has passed them by and the grim reality of a life of poverty has embittered and angered them.

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