Covering xenophobia in South Africa

By Al Jazeera

It is difficult to say with certainty what triggered the latest wave of violence against foreign nationals in South Africa. Depending on who you believe the blame either lies with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, or it lies with the media.

Earlier this month, migrants from countries like Somalia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Mozambique came under attack in Durban after Zwelithini allegedly said that foreigners “should pack their bags and go”. The king says that his words were taken out of context and has called for the media to be investigated.

And it is not just the Zulu king who has taken exception with the way that it is being reported. According to President Jacob Zuma, the media are making the country look bad.

The violence is a big story there, getting lots of coverage, and the headlines in South Africa scream ‘xenophobia’. But does that term, xenophobia, do justice to what is actually happening?

Is it really the irrational fear and hatred of foreigners that is driving the violence, or is it the failure of the government to end the poverty and inequality of the Apartheid era?

Putting the South African media under the lens this week are: Anton Harber, a media professor at WITZ University; William Gumede, a senior associate at St. Anthony’s College in South Africa; Cawo Abdi, the author of Journeys of Hope and Pain; and Sthembiso Msomi, the political editor at The Sunday Times newspaper.

Source:: Al Jazeera—Xenophobia.mp4?videoId=4196740298001

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