Why history has repeated itself: The security risks of structural xenophobia

  • Tamlyn Monson
  • Jean-Pierre Misago
Keywords: xenophobia, South Africa, foreign nationals, violence, security


The South African government declared last year's xenophobic attacks over on 28 May 2008. As early as July 2008, it began to assure displaced foreigners that conditions were favourable for their return to affected communities, and that it would be safe to do so. Yet in the past year there have been repeated attacks in a number of the same communities that fell victim to immigration-control-by-mob in 2008. Why? In this article we argue that the state's reluctance to protect and assist foreigners in the past perpetuates violence, social instability and injustice – for nationals and non-nationals alike. We examine the source of this reluctance, and show how it creates the conditions for weak protection and judicial responses.

  • Abstract 186
  • PDF 198
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