Xenophobia ‘has roots in jealousy’

Shaanaaz de Jager

JEALOUSY was one of the main reasons for xenophobic violence in a Port Elizabeth township, research has revealed.

Thandolwethu Nomarwayi, who graduated with his master’s degree in Developmental Studies from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) last month, conducted his “on the ground” research for his thesis titled “An Exploration of Economic Discontent Against Foreign Nationals in the Xenophobic Attacks in Port Elizabeth, Walmer Township”.

“Xenophobic violence in the Walmer Township usually takes place when attackers are jealous of the foreigners’ business success,” he said.

Nomarwayi interviewed 120 residents and foreigners, between the ages of 16 and 30.

“Xenophobia has always been a topic of interest for me. There is so much research on xenophobia but it is derived from literature review and not ‘in the field’ research,” he said.

The 28-year-old from New Brighton, who regularly visits family and friends in Walmer Township, said he consulted research literature on the topic and did one-on-one interviews.

“Unemployment plays a part in these attacks, usually by young unemployed males. Often the attackers are between the ages of 16 years and 35 years old. Young females do not physically attack the victims but verbally abuse them.”

Often the attacks can be “very” violent but there are times when the perpetrators only steal items in the shop and money.

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