A recent spike in violence against migrant Africans in South Africa has sparked discussion on social media under the #SayNoToXenophobia hashtag, calling attention to a longstanding issue in the country. The African nation plays host to an event featuring other African leaders who have condemned the xenophobic attacks.
The Daily Maverick reports:
A spate of violence that broke out in suburbs south of Johannesburg’s city center on Sunday and spread to the central business district on Monday saw the destruction of more than 50 mainly foreign-owned shops and business premises. Cars and properties were torched and widespread looting took place.
The attacks come ahead of the beginning of the African edition of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town on Sept. 4 and before a state visit to South Africa by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, a country whose nationals have been affected, next month.
“The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are unacceptable,” the government of Nigeria said on Twitter. “Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure safety and protection of her citizens.”
The violence echoes sporadic outbreaks of attacks mainly targeting migrants from other African countries in some of South Africa’s poorest areas. In 2008 about 60 people were killed and over 50,000 forced from their homes and in 2015 seven people died in violence. Migrants are seen as competition for scarce jobs and government services.
Under the hashtag, commentary regarding the developing situation in South Africa has been bubbling since the most recent accounts went public. We’ve collected a handful of those responses below.