Saturday, December 06, 2014

South African xenophobia

Cape Town is said to be one of the most unequal in the country with foreigners facing increasing discrimination. Its central business district has the least amount of street traders out of the country's four biggest cities, but it has the highest proportion of foreign African traders. Greenmarket Square, the Grand Parade, and Adderley Street are some of Cape Town's most celebrated historical sites. Yet, as more foreign hawkers populate the urban centre and turn to the informal economy under the threat of destitution, a bitterness has grown among some Cape Townians.

The informal economy has become a vital source of jobs for many in South Africa with the country's unemployment rate at 25.5 percent. Without the informal economy, that unemployment would jump to 45.7 percent. Alongside economic woes, these jobless figures have also contributed to a culture of xenophobia. Traders are known to get harassed by police and protesters, who sometimes loot their shops.

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