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The rising Level of Xenophobia: Being a Black African Foreigner in South Africa

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  1. Abstract.
  2. The SAHRC.
  3. Identifying the problem.
    1. The passage from a very authoritarian regime to a democracy.
    2. Public authorities: Less keen to contradict.
    3. The gap between laws and their applications.
    4. Misperceptions of foreigners by South Africans.
  4. The Solutions of the SAHRC to solve the problem.
    1. Advocating no action.
    2. The main cause bringing about xenophobia.
    3. Develop better cooperation over immigration issues within regional organisations.
  5. References.

Despite the transition from a very authoritarian regime to a young democracy, post- Apartheid South Africa has not yet managed to get rid of the racist burden that undermines South African political life. Racism is still deeply entrenched within the South African mentality and constitutes a real obstacle in the democratic transition undertaken by the country. More alarmingly, racism seems to have derived into a new form from 1994 onward: xenophobia. Very paradoxically, xenophobia mainly affects Black African foreigners which these same sacrosanct peoples that the African Renaissance project flatters. Insofar indifferent or even unconcerned by this particular problem and despite our previous claims over this subject, the South African government and especially the Department of Home affairs must realize that even if xenophobia is a worldwide plague, South Africa is nevertheless regarded as the most xenophobic country in the world along with Russia. The consequences of this unfortunate status could damage the credibility, the influence or even the image of South Africa- as it presently handicaps Russia-, the Department of Home Affairs must now develop real public policies to stop this shameful trend. The SAHRC proposes three different solutions to sort out this problem: (1) No action: Xenophobia is nothing but a consequence of the nation building process. Therefore fighting against xenophobia is at the same time fighting against the nation-building process. (2) Launch a national scale campaign to promote foreign cultures in order to weaken misperceptions that South Africans have towards foreigners. (3) Encourage common policies over immigration within the regional organisations South Africa belongs to (SADC, SACU, AU).

[...] With such a partnership, South African institutions will be more able to familiarize itself with foreigners' problems as well as it will enhance the involvement of foreigners in South African political life. At last the SAHRC recommends promoting foreign culture by organizing cultural events such as films, theatre, music or literature festivals all year long and in all South African urban centres capable to host these kinds or artistic manifestations. South Africa must follow the model that France has outlined two decades ago by dedicating every year to one particular country or culture such as the year of Armenia (2006), the year of Brazil (2005). [...]


[...] With a very striking headline: Xenophobia: Intolerance towards Fellow Africans must be tackled.[13], it recalls among other things, the role that foreigners played in the struggle for independence in South Africa as well as how the South African history-and economy- was, and is still linked with immigration (notably in mining industries of the Rand). More importantly it distinguishes three different types of foreigners: the undocumented foreigners (or illegal aliens), the refugees and legal migrants. This linguistic distinction is very prejudicial for the SAHRC. [...]


[...] Sally Pederby stresses in her article that as soon after the Apartheid, South Africa has mainly launched very ?exclusive' policies[22].This fact can be understood as the will of the South African to define a common identity which insofar relies on a common past (the Apartheid regime) as well as the current opportunity to live under a democratic regime - Indeed, no linguistic, ethnic or religious unity prevail within this country. Therefore, the South African should exclusively benefit from this new democracy due to the fact that the Apartheid hampered them to do so. [...]

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