On closing his speech at a gathering of remembrance for the lives lost in the xenophobic riots in May 2008, the then president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki said ‘as Africans we will never abandon the values of Ubuntu; as Africans we will never become enemies of other Africans. We define ourselves as Africans because we belong within the family of the billion Africans who live in Africa and the African diaspora who are linked to one another by a common destiny’. Now almost seven years later the country is going through a more gruesome repeat of the attacks. In March the country was making headlines worldwide as angry locals once more showed their apparent discontent and resentment towards the many African immigrants in the country.

A comment made by Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini urging foreigners to ‘pack their bags and go’ is reported to have sparked the recent acts of violence on foreigners. However, ascertaining from the reports over the years it seems some South Africans have always had a blatant dislike for their fellow Africans. Claims have been made over the years that many of these attacks are caused by locals who feel foreigners are taking over their land and jobs. One wonders however whether this claim is viable, or is it instead a case of greed and a lack of innovation in securing employment. The South African Police Service is said to have arrested over three-hundred locals in connection with the attacks. At least five people have died from the attacks and more were injured.

The attacks started off in the coastal city of Durban, with foreigners being attacked, shot, stabbed and even burnt alive. The horrific acts of violence have made their way to other areas of the country claiming lives and forcing immigrants to flee to refugee camps. Governments of affected countries including Mozambique and Malawi have started to evacuate their citizens from South Africa. There have been reports of Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram having issued a warning to South Africa with regards to the attacks, ordering for them to stop or be prepared to face possible bombing at their embassies in Nigeria and surrounding countries.

With all this going, one can question what all this means for the future of the South African economy, which is one of the most developed of the African countries. The attacks have led to talks of boycotting South African companies in affected African countries. A few days after the attacks, there were reports of South African trucks carrying products being sent back at the Mozambican border by angry nationals. This means a great financial loss for South African businesses. The mobsters, however are still adamant and continue with their attacks. What all this means for the South African economy which is the financial hub of Africa, is still uncertain.

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