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7 of the Biggest Myths About South Africa and Xenophobia

Lee Mwiti | Mail & Guardian Africa   in 
April 26, 2015

SOUTH Africa has in recent days been in the eye of an international storm, after attacks against foreign nationals mainly of African origin.

The most recent violence is widely blamed on Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who last month said immigrants were responsible for rising crime and demanded that they leave the country – an outburst that was followed by the spate of attacks that left seven dead and thousands displaced.

The king, who has no official power but still commands loyalty among some 10 million Zulu people, on Monday following intense pressure denied whipping up hatred—saying he had been misinterpreted—and condemned the violence as “shameful”.

But it was seen as too late, even as South Africa deployed soldiers to the violence-hit townships in the cities of Johannesburg and Durban.

The attacks have been blamed on a range of causes, but as analysts and researchers have found, most are based on perception that is unsupported by the reality—a situation tacitly perpetuated by politicians seeking to deflect criticism from themselves.

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