Friday, September 03, 2010

xenophobia in South Africa

"Xenophobia is part of life. We do not live easy here. We only survive," says Somali shopkeeper, Abdinasir Shaikh Aden. Aden was threatened with his life during the run-up to the Cup. He was chased away from his small grocery shop and told that foreigners would have no future in South Africa once the tourists and fans had gone home.

A dangerous combination of cramped living conditions and competition for jobs remains. The recession and deepening unemployment in South Africa is exacerbating the pressure on poor communities.Overcrowded and poverty-stricken areas are most at risk of a flare-up of tensions.

Liliane Mukangwa, who settled in South Africa with her husband and five children, moving back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is not an option."It is hard for us as we have nowhere to go. We do not want to go home. It is too dangerous there." Mukangwa has been living in South Africa for eight years.She travels to her house every day during daylight hours accompanied by family and friends from the DRC. She is scared of travelling alone on public transport: "There is often tension on the trains."

South Africa is to start expelling Zimbabweans again, from 31 December, the government has announced. An estimated two million Zimbabweans are thought to be in South Africa. Human rights groups have condemned the South African government's decision. Zimbabwe exile groups fear that anyone forced to return could still face persecution.

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