MRN News Service – A division of Media Review Network

Xenophobic violence could erupt again

MRN exclusive

By Tahir Sema

Michael Mushayabasa a Zimbabwean national currently living in South Africa in one of the refugee camps spoke out on Tuesday at a Xenophobia conference. Mushayabasa firmly believes that if the perpetrators of this appalling attack on foreigners are not found and dealt with, the spirit behind the attack will still live on. If this ignorant spirit still lives on there is a strong possibility xenophobic violence will break out yet again in South Africa.

Mushayabasa like many others are struggling to find an answer as to why these brutal attacks were carried out. He says, “we need to tame the animal in society and rid the hatred”. Many academics believe that it is hatred that sparked these attacks. A strong emotion that transcends and defies logic.

Among these scholars is Dr. Abdul Lamin a lecturer in International Relations at the University Of Witwatersrand. He says, “we need to interrogate the language we use, so we could begin to understand the broader issue. Understanding the underlying message is more important than condemning it.”

Amid the consensus of hatred as the cause of the violence comes the near adamant behavior of displaced foreign nationals not wanting to register for the temporary ID cards which the government made compulsory. Mr. Mushayabasa says the displaced victims will not register for the ID card, because by doing so “Government is trying to shift the focus away from the hatred that exists in South Africa.”

The focus now is on reintegrating the remaining 5000 people back into society. The Wits law clinic believes that without a comprehensive plan that would protect the rights of these people, could create more problems. Apart from the hatred that still exists, the displaced people’s homes and belongings have now been looted and claimed by criminals.

As a proposed solution Lamin and Mushayabasa maintain that the public needs to be better educated about this ignorant hatred and tolerance should be reinforced by family members, the community and religious organizations. If the underlying message and the broader context are not dealt with, South Africa runs a high risk of experiencing this inexcusable violence that left 62 people dead and 17,000 displaced once again.

For further comments contact the author:

Tahir Sema 0829403403

MRN

Author: MRN Network

The aspiration of the Media Review Network is to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country. The Media Review Network believes that Muslim perspectives on issues impacting on South Africans are a prerequisite to a better appreciation of Islam.