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Xenophobia: it’s under control

That’s the word from Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula today, after a meeting with the Xenophobia task team in Pretoria.

Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils said that just because the situation was under control did not mean sporadic attacks could not still take place.

I don’t know … under control? Who’s control? I’ve just come back from the Red Cross in Wynberg where they have now received news of nearly 500 more displaced foreigners that have arrived in Strandfontein after fleeing for their lives today. And to (skeptical) me, it sounds like Mr Kasrils is giving our leadership a handy loophole.

Now there is also talk about the reintegration of foreigners – how on earth can that be possible? What has changed? An apology and an invitation to return is just not enough, in my opinion. Some communities may accept this but I have a feeling that the large majority won’t.

While I dearly hope that things are indeed “under control” and that foreigners can now safely start returning to their homes, I have my doubts. I just don’t think these concepts are terribly realistic at this stage. I hope I’m wrong.

Xenophobia: what are YOU doing?

That’s the question that’s been on my mind for a while now. I’ve absorbed all the media reports and the opinions of various armchair analysts from around the world for the last few days and while I appreciate all the information they are sending my way, it’s not enough for me.

Here I sit, in my safe, warm little house in the suburbs, feeling distressed, anxious and upset for the thousands and thousands of people in our country, even in my city, who have had to run for their lives. These people have had to leave everything behind and look for shelter, both from the elements and from very real life-threatening danger. They have nothing. They are afraid for their lives, their families have been ripped apart and they need help to survive.

I can’t sit here any longer and not do anything. I’m not going to allow myself to think that this is somebody else’s problem, that this does not affect me. It’s happening within a few kilometers of my home, it’s getting worse and worse by the day and more and more people are in peril. And who knows where this is going?

I’m not just going to look at it from (what I think is) a safe distance and wait for it to play out. No I’m not going to sit on my butt and do nothing but talk about it anymore. I am in a position to help. I need to step up and offer my assistance to these people in some way.

And you? What about you? You, sitting there in front of your screen, you who woke up this morning in a warm bed, had a hot bath/shower, brushed your teeth, wrapped yourself in warm clothes and filled your tummy with eggs and bacon (or croissants, or muesli, or whatever) this morning … what are you going to do? Anything?

Enough chit chat. I’m off to take some action. Later …

Trying to get my head around Xenophobia

I’ve seen the reports, I’ve heard the news and I’ve read various opinions about the recent violence, but I am skeptical of these things. I never know what to believe, who to trust or quite what to make of it all.

This horror has been on my mind a lot but I haven’t been able to get to grips with the cause of it all. All I seem to hear is people outside of the situation blaming this, that and the other, hurling accusations around, throwing odd theories into the pot and just confusing the hell out of me.

I have just found something that has helped me to see things a little clearer. It’s an interview with a Xenophobe and it sheds some light on what’s happening from the perspective of someone right in the middle of it all.

You can read it here –

I do not condone violence in any way and I think that callous disregard for the value of human life is inexcusable, but this lady’s personal truth is interesting to me. And frightening … these people are so frustrated, beyond listening to “lies” from their leaders. And it’s spreading.,,2-7-2382_2327654,00.html

Where does it end? How does it stop? What can we do?