The Role of Secondary Schools in Averting Xenophobia in South Africa

Walter W. Mpofu Chimbga, Corinne Meier

Abstract


South Africa has been plagued by attacks on foreign nationals and their property since it gained independence from the apartheid regime in 1994. The attacks reached alarming levels in May 2008 when there was an outbreak of such attacks in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg that later spread across the country and the attacks are referred to as xenophobic attacks. More incidents continue to take place after the 2008 mayhem and one thing that appears to be very conspicuous is the little or no attention that the attacks are given by authorities. Xenophobic acts just happen and very little has ever been reported in terms of bringing to book the perpetrators painting a picture that such attacks are now considered to be just a ‘normal’ daily occurrence. This study sought to determine the causes of xenophobia in South Africa with a view of establishing ways of averting xenophobia within the school context at secondary school level. The mixed method approach of combining quantitative and qualitative research approaches was used to collect data when the former method was utilised through the quantitative non-experimental survey method and the latter through interviews to collect data. The findings imply that xenophobia is a complex phenomenon that clearly has something to do with the resentment of people of foreign origins. The causes of such resentment are not explicit as a number of competing theories have emerged in terms of what really triggers xenophobia. Accusations that foreigners steal jobs from locals, foreign men ‘steal’ local women, take all the food and money to their home countries, suffocate locals’ spaces, are responsible for the high rate of crime, bring diseases into South Africa, being corrupt and the jealousy of locals are some of the issues that surfaced as causes of xenophobia. Xenophobia is an endemic feature amid some South Africans and efforts to counter it are greatly required.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1691


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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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