Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.
A week of riots in South Africa targeting foreign-owned businesses has left at least 10 people dead and dozens of shops destroyed across Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria. The attacks shut down entire neighborhoods, as South Africans, enraged by the perception that foreigners are taking their jobs, looted shops and set them ablaze. This latest eruption of xenophobia comes amid deepening inequality in Africa’s second-largest economy, where more than a quarter of people are unemployed.
South Africa has wrestled with xenophobia since the end of the apartheid era, as South Africa-based migration expert Loren B. Landau explained in a May interview with WPR. Xenophobic rhetoric has begun creeping into political speech. “What used to be the language of the street has become the language of mainstream politics,” Landau said.