Wits University’s African Centre for Migration & Society and the Wits-Oxford Mobility Governance Lab held a hybrid panel discussion reflecting on the meaning and implications of xenophobic violence for South Africa’s economic and political future. The 1-hour 30 minutes event was held on the 2nd of August 2022 with a total attendance of 120 participants that joined us both in person and online.
The discussion stemmed 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.
To unpack this discussion, Professor Loren Landau was in conversation with Mavuso Msimang, Siphelele Ngobese, and Dr. Jean Pierre Misago. You may follow the discussion on the Xenowatch ACMS page.