Saturday, 23 July 2011

“We are Gauteng people”: Challenging the politics of xenophobia in Khutsong, South Africa

by Joshua Kirshner, Critical Studies Seminar, 2011

In May 2008, formal and informal settlements in the poorer parts of large South African cities were wracked by xenophobic violence. The violence left more than sixty people dead and many thousands displaced and homeless (Crush et al., 2008). The attacks against foreign Africans living in the country deeply shocked the international community and many South Africans themselves. Several accounts of the events of May 2008 stressed a link between poverty and violence towards foreign migrants, who were seen to be encroaching on locals‟ already limited resources. Analysts, policy makers, and academics turned their attention to the "hotspots" of the bloodshed, focusing on those areas where foreign nationals were attacked and driven out of the community. Often overlooked in this process were places like Khutsong where violence toward foreigners was absent.

Click here to download this article in pdf. The version of this paper published in Antipode is available here.