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Xenophobia in South Africa: Why It is Time to Unsettle Naratives About Migration Issue

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Xenophobia in South Africa: Why it’s time to unsettle narratives about migrants

This article discusses the prevalence of xenophobia in South Africa. For years, South Africa has not accepted foreign immigrants. Foreign nationals are displaced, attacked, looted, and even killed. Most of them are being targeted because of their different geographical origins. There are immigrants from all over Africa, for example, recently there have been many geriatric refugees from Ethiopia who are seeking asylum for reprisals in the past. Many come into South Africa seeking a new place to settle down, but South Africans are unwelcoming.

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As a society mainly constituted of black people who fought against apartheid, they are very protective of their country and its people. It is noteworthy to understand that the roots of xenophobia may not be rooted in the fact that native South Africans do not want to destabilize their language, traditions, ideals, and they do not want to lose dominance over this area. Migration by nature changes communities and in large quantities could displace those already in the area. It may also introduce new languages, customs, foods, and may change the socio-economic and political identity of a country.

The South African government is very aware that immigration is not worsening the problems of jobless and homeless. However, they are using immigration to cover some of the broader political issues such as corruption, incompetence and false promises leading to ineffective policies. The region suffers because it leads to Xenophobic fears that spill into surrounding countries causing long-term mistrust between the neighbors. This impacts trade between the countries, lack of cooperation for common issues and hesitation to support for each other during a crisis.

With a more in-depth examination of the cause of violence and xenophobia, the South African government and citizens may be able to understand that migration can be useful for them. With diverse people, thoughts, ideas, and influences, South Africa can learn and improve their quality of life. As one of the most affluent metropolitan areas in Africa, South Africa can reduce Xenophobia by protecting the rights, documenting the suffering, building inclusive communities for immigrants. South African government and its citizens lack awareness and assume that immigrants are stealing jobs from the locals. However, they are not aware that controlled immigration can be beneficial just like it did in many other parts of the world over the centuries – in the form of skill and cultural exchange, increased diversity, and assimilation of ideas leading to increased productivity and transforming communities.

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