Xenophobia victims speak out

By Drum Digital
14 July 2010

NO SOONER had the fireworks faded at Soccer City and foreign players and officials boarded planes to fly back home than the country found itself on a knife-edge. Reports of xenophobic attacks started streaming in and the army and police were dispatched to townships in the Western Cape and Gauteng in a bid to keep the peace.

Tragically, the grim prediction issued by the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (Cormsa) appears to be coming true: “widespread mass xenophobic violence in the aftermath of the Fifa World Cup appears a credible threat . . .”

At first the government tried to laugh it off. The claims were “mere rumours”, police minister Nathi Mthethwa said – but foreign nationals living in the townships weren’t taking any chances. Hundreds of families have fled their homes, cramming into trains and buses or waiting on the N1 outside Cape Town and Jozi, their bundled possessions beside them, for a ride home.

As the country waits nervously to see what will happen next, we speak to two young people who have been involved in xenophobic violence – one a foreigner, the other a local person.

The pair appear in a new documentary made in an attempt to educate young people about the ills of xenophobia. Called Where I Stand? it is being distributed at schools around the country and will, the creators hope, change the way the youth feel about foreigners in their midst.

DRUM tracked down the two young people featured most prominently in the documentary to hear the story from either side of the spectrum.

Read the full article in the Drum of 22 July 2010

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