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Xenophobia: South Africa Police Launches ‘We Are One Humanity Campaign’

In the wake of attacks on foreign nationals residing in South Africa last month, thousands of South Africans marched in Durban to protest against the xenophobic attacks that has drawn worldwide condemnation.

Related to the attacks, the country’s Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko launched a national campaign focused on behavioural change. The campaign is being championed by the Police Ministry through the Civilian Secretariat for Police and includes other civic organisations. The ‘We are One Humanity Campaign’ is a long term sustainable response to the attacks against foreign nationals, with an objective to combat such attacks through celebrating diversity and embracing difference as well as developing empathy through public education. The campaign which is expected to be rolled out between April and October, will take various forms such as outreach programmes that will create platforms for constructive discussions and seek practical solutions. Also, mass education will be used to further interrogate and deal with the root causes and future prevention of these attacks as well as an African dialogue where representatives from the African continent will engage with each other.


  • Between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died through xenophobic attacks. In May 2008, a series of riots left 62 people dead, 21 of whom were South African citizens. The recent xenophobic attack was in 2015, which left about 6 people dead
  • Two of four of the causes of xenophobia as indicated by a report of the Human Sciences Research Council includes: unemployment, and a feeling of superiority to other Africans
  • The 2015 attack was reportedly fuelled by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini who was quoted as saying that foreigners should ␣go back to their countries␣
  • In April 2015, the xenophobic attacks spread to Johannesburg, South Africa‘s largest city. Locals were reportedly looting foreigners’ properties and attacking immigrants in general, forcing hundreds of migrants to relocate to police stations across the country
  • Some countries government, such as Malawi took measures to repatriate their nationals, while and a number of other foreign governments also announced that they would evacuate their citizens
  • After 6 people were killed in the attacks, and more than 300 arrested, on April 23 several thousand demonstrators marched through central Johannesburg to protest against the attacks


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