n Africa Insight - Xenophobic attacks : towards an understanding of violence against African immigrants in South Africa

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article considers the causes of xenophobia in South Africa. It mentions three prevailing perspectives but argues that the causes are not simplistic and that simplistic solutions should not be sought. It suggests that a broader perspective needs to be considered that includes addressing national identity and grounding it in what citizens of a country may expect from the state and what the state expects in return. It argues that public violence and how it manifests, has more to do with lingering issues of nation-building, in particular issues around the meaning of citizenship and identity in the current socio-economy of South Africa.

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