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Xenophobia as symptom, 20 August

Speaker: China Ngubane
Date: Thursday 20 August 2015
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Xenophobia in SA: A Failed Economic Policy

Attacks against Black Africans from the rest of the continent continue in KwaZulu-Natal, Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa. Two new videos document the attacks and map xenophobic hotspots in KZN, especially Durban. The recent round of attacks began on 30 March 2015 in Isipingo, shortly after King Goodwill Zwelithini's infamous let us pop our head lice speech - a topic and person still too inflammatory state protectors of human rights to tackle with courage. But beyond the moment of Zwelithini's combustion, the videos unveil structural slow-burning damage to the society. Immigrants from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Burundi, Somalia, Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria and other countries are victimised in many ways on a day-to-day basis, as the videos document, with a “Blackphobia” resulting in South Africa's poor and working people from failed national economic policy in South Africa, which stretches far into the region. Tracing some of the immigrants' ‘push-factors’, the role of the colonial legacy is vital to incorporate, especially because of the attention given to Cecil John Rhodes in 2015. The immediate and long term challenges of victims are portrayed. So are the mixed reactions and opinions of South African xenophobes. Finally, the roles of the incumbent political elites and ineffectual regional institutions are subject to scrutiny. Given the complex socioeconomic dynamics in South Africa and the growing public frustration with 'be-nice' platitudes, a solution must start by recognising the perpetual denial and misinterpretation of the problem. If solutions to root causes are not identified, the videos predict the consequences of yet more rounds of the scourge of xenophobia.

China Ngubane made the two videos - lasting 30 minutes total - from his own montage of broadcast coverage and local documentation, including his own prolific filming in the April-June period this year. He is a UNISA political science student and at CCS he directs the Dennis Brutus Community Scholars programme. (He can be contacted - - with requests for screenings and discussions.)

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