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South Africa: With Mandela's death, migrants fear xenophobia01:17

South Africa: With Mandela's death, migrants fear xenophobia

South Africa, Johannesburg
December 13, 2013 at 08:27 GMT +00:00 · Published

South Africa: With Mandela's death, migrants fear xenophobia

Immigrants in Johannesburg are concerned about their safety and fear that hostility towards them could intensify after the death of Nelson Mandela, Friday. For many, Mandela was seen as a moral guardian of the nation, preventing the country from internal conflicts and further violence.

"Because he's the one who allowed refugees in South Africa, that's why I came. I think that they will chase all foreigners because they don't want foreigners here, they are complaining that foreigners are taking their jobs", Doline, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said.

Raphael Kayembe, another refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, fears an outbreak of xenophobia: "People were saying Nelson Mandela is dead, we are going to chase all of you foreigners, you are going to get out of South Africa", Kayembe said.

In 2008, a series of riots and protests started in Johannesburg when locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing two and injuring 40 people. The riots spread across the country. More than 60 migrants were killed by the time riots were suppressed.

According to Paul Veryn, Superintendent of Central Methodist Mission, apartheid is a key cause: "If you're a Greek or if you're German or if you're French and you come into this country, you won't experience what's experienced here. One of the things apartheid did, for instance, was that it divorced us from the rest of Africa."

South Africa is one of the four countries in Africa that is categorised as an upper-middle income economy, according to the World Bank. Since 1996, South Africa's Gross Domestic Product has almost tripled to $400 billion (€290 billion ), and foreign exchange reserves have increased from $3 billion (€2.1 billion) to nearly $50 billion (€36 billion).

South Africa: With Mandela's death, migrants fear xenophobia01:17
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South Africa: With Mandela's death, migrants fear xenophobia

Immigrants in Johannesburg are concerned about their safety and fear that hostility towards them could intensify after the death of Nelson Mandela, Friday. For many, Mandela was seen as a moral guardian of the nation, preventing the country from internal conflicts and further violence.

"Because he's the one who allowed refugees in South Africa, that's why I came. I think that they will chase all foreigners because they don't want foreigners here, they are complaining that foreigners are taking their jobs", Doline, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said.

Raphael Kayembe, another refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, fears an outbreak of xenophobia: "People were saying Nelson Mandela is dead, we are going to chase all of you foreigners, you are going to get out of South Africa", Kayembe said.

In 2008, a series of riots and protests started in Johannesburg when locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing two and injuring 40 people. The riots spread across the country. More than 60 migrants were killed by the time riots were suppressed.

According to Paul Veryn, Superintendent of Central Methodist Mission, apartheid is a key cause: "If you're a Greek or if you're German or if you're French and you come into this country, you won't experience what's experienced here. One of the things apartheid did, for instance, was that it divorced us from the rest of Africa."

South Africa is one of the four countries in Africa that is categorised as an upper-middle income economy, according to the World Bank. Since 1996, South Africa's Gross Domestic Product has almost tripled to $400 billion (€290 billion ), and foreign exchange reserves have increased from $3 billion (€2.1 billion) to nearly $50 billion (€36 billion).

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