Xenophobia, Racism and the Travails of ‘Black’ Immigrants in South Africa

Part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series (AAESPD)


Xenophobia has become endemic and central to policy discourse in post-apartheid South Africa. Attacks on foreign nationals of African descent and efforts to violently ‘expunge them’ from South Africa are of great concern to other African countries as well as the global community. Aside from the governance crisis and mass impoverishment that characterises African states, the global economic meltdown has heightened the influx of immigrants into the country. Political instability, insurgency, terrorism and ethnic wars in many African countries also resulted in a mass exodus to South Africa. South Africa is the largest economy in Africa. However, it has recently suffered an economic slowdown and has recorded high unemployment rates and poor service delivery. South Africans (both white and black) directed their frustration at black immigrants that are considered as threats to the economy. Foreigners have also often been accused of defiling the society by peddling drugs, and engaging in sex slavery and other societal ills. This chapter critically explores the agony of black immigrants, especially the reality of experiencing ‘double jeopardy’: racial hostility from white settlers and violent attacks by black South Africans. It calls for concerted efforts by state and non-state actors to stem the tide of xenophobia in the country.


Xenophobia Racism Immigration Impoverishment South Africa 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of HumanitiesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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