The Scourge of Xenophobia: From Botswana to Zambia

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


Xenophobia has been a consistent feature of Botswana’s policymaking and social reality for decades, Zambia only awoke to this scourge as a result of the looting of about 60 Rwandan-owned shops during the 2016 xenophobic violence that resulted in the loss of lives and property. While locals accused foreigners, especially Rwandans of ritual killings; this appears to have been an excuse to attack foreigners and loot their tuck-shops. Although there have been few incidents of xenophobia in Zambia, the country’s image as a haven for refugees and other immigrants has been dented. In contrast, dislike of foreigners continues to rise in Botswana. The study found similar patterns of xenophobia with Zambians singling out Rwandans for attacks, while in Botswana, Zimbabweans were targeted. Foreigners have been blamed for spiralling crime and other social ills in the two countries, dwindling economic opportunities and challenging economic realities, political discontent, and poor service delivery continue to aggravate social tension and reinforce xenophobia in the Southern African region. It is thus concluded that governance failure explains xenophobic attacks in these countries. To stem the tides of xenophobia, it is imperative for the government to exploit the opportunities presented by foreigners in terms of skills acquisition and transfer, and also implement pragmatic policies for effective governance and improvement in the lives of the masses.


Xenophobia Violence Immigrants Scapegoating Botswana Zambia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZululandKwaDlangezwaSouth Africa

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