‘Afrophobia’ in South Africa: An Unabating Challenge Intensifying During Covid-19

Authors: Sadhana Manik*, University of KwaZulu Natal
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Migration
Keywords: Xenophobia, Afrophobia, South Africa
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Xenophobia is a phenomenon currently permeating migration discourses worldwide. Whilst there has been scholarly attention and government discussions in the Global north, the causes, nature and magnitude of xenophobia currently in countries the Global south remain under represented in the literature. After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa became a magnet for Africans from numerous countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Somalia and Zimbabwe) and migrants from the east. Indeed xenophobic violence in major cities of South Africa has become a regular feature since the first major incident in 2008. This paper addresses that fissure by honing in on the recent outbreaks of ‘Afrophobia’, in South Africa in 2019 and examining how the print media has portrayed the causes, nature and magnitude of the violence across a three month period in 2019 (August, September and October 2019) and during the first three months of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic (March- May 2020). A survey followed by content analysis of the South African newspaper articles published on xenophobia during this period was undertaken. I argue that the implications for SA geopolitically, given the depiction of Afrophobia in the print media as an unabating annual challenge of the South African government, has been damaging to the reputation of South Africa globally, within the African union as well as the SADEC region.

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