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Post-Apartheid South Africa Psychologically Unprepared To Deal With Foreigners


Violence against foreigners that broke out two weeks ago in South Africa has caused worldwide consternation.

Some of the victims are refugees who had fled from violence or hunger in their various countries. Reports say the attacks are xenophobic and not just random acts perpetrated by a few criminal elements.

Nonfundo Mogati, Manager of the Trauma & Transition Program at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, South Africa told VOA’s Akwei Thompson the whole country is in shock. “It was unexpected and we all condemn what has happened…,” she said.

A march by civil society and the general community will take place in protest of the violence, she said

She attributed the violence in part to the fact that post-apartheid South Africans were not psychologically prepared to interact with other people. “I think during apartheid we were very much a very closed nation, so we never really mingled with other people.”

She said the government’s decision not to put refugees and migrants in camps –as well intended as it may have been - may also be a contributing factor. “I don’t think we did enough in terms of preparing the community in being able to live with these people.”

Mogati said government is responsible for insuring the safety of people who come from other African countries, but she suggested that it would take the concerted effort of different organizations and groups to prevent this sort of thing from happening again future.

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