INVITATION: Panel Discussion – Implications Of Xenophobic Violence For Trade & Transformation

Wits University’s African Centre for Migration & Society and the Wits-Oxford Mobility Governance Lab, invite you to a panel discussion reflecting on the meaning and implications of xenophobic violence for South Africa’s economic and political future.

The discussion stems from a newly released Xenowatch report: Xenophobic Violence in South Africa: An Analysis of Trends, Causal Factors, and Responses. Drawing on more than a decade of original research across South Africa, the report describes xenophobic violence as an increasingly integral part of the country’s socio-economic and political landscape. Abetted by anti-immigrant attitudes, xenophobic violence is rooted in democratic deficits: threats to rule of law and constitutional credibility. It highlights that violence is distinctly spatialised, often occurring repeatedly in specific localities where economic and political competition is acute. It demonstrates that while inequality fuels popular dissatisfaction, political opportunists and entrepreneurs scapegoat and victimise immigrants and other outsiders for their own advantage.

The consequences of South Africa’s anti-outsider violence extend far beyond the immediate victims but affect lives across many townships and informal settlements. Yet while violence has long been a local matter, the forthcoming national leadership contest has seen xenophobic rhetoric and mobilisation become increasingly well-organised and national. Together these reflect a dangerous politics of localism and entitlement, rationing of access to rights and opportunities, and a threat to prosperity and the constitutional order. It is these implications that this panel intends to explore.

Presented in a hybrid format open to a live and virtual audience, the panel will include representatives from academia, civil society, the media, and former civil servants. Over ninety minutes the discussion will consider the implications of xenophobic mobilisation for South Africa’s efforts to promote economic inclusion, democratic institutions, and security for all its residents. It will explore domestic and regional trade, security, and political accountability implications.


Mavuso Msimang (Former Corruption Watch Chairperson)
Siphelele Ngobese (Researcher in the Inclusive Cities Programme, SA Cities Network)
Jean Pierre Misago (Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University)


Loren Landau (Professor of Migration and Development at the University of Oxford, and co-director of the Wits-Oxford Mobility Governance Lab)
For more information on the panel or the report, contact

Date: 2 August 2022

Time: 14.30 – 16.00

Venue: Senate Room, 2nd Floor, East Wing, Solomon Mahlangu House, University of the Witwatersrand and Online via Zoom


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