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Three days in Hell: Xenophobia keeps foreigners in perpetual fear

His at the eighth floor of a flat located at the inner city in Johannesburg with all the doors locked for security reasons. He is peeping through the window as he watches the ghoulish crowds commit heinous acts against each other. It is the South African indigenous habitants, predominantly the Zulu group who are baying for blood of the exotic habitants of the land which include Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Pakistan’s and other foreigners who are seeking greener pastures at the City of Gold.

The indigenous inhabitants of the land have declared themselves the judge, jury and the executioner as of that moment.

Its Monday, the 2nd of September, and the South African citizens have heed the call for a demonstration, a demonstration aimed to eliminate the root of their suffering, the foreigners.

As a judge and the jury, foreigners have been found guilty of a myriad of criminal activities in South Africa which include the beating up of law enforcers, taking away their jobs, selling of drugs to innocent children amongst other things.

As the executioner, the South Africans have resolved to put the law in their hands, that they go and attack the foreigners in the CBD with sticks and stones and kill them, together with destroying their businesses by burning them and looting from foreign owned shops.

As he watches all these things, tears trickle down Jethro Masuku’s (not real name) cheeks and does not even bother to wipe them. He is afraid for his life and his family’s as these incidents are just happening close to home.

“Honestly am scared for my life, these people seem to be in a no-nonsense mood and I am afraid of what they might do to us if they attack us in our flats. This will be the end of us.” he says.

As he is peeping through the window, Masuku calls me to come and watch as a mob attacks a helpless man who runs for dear life as stones race towards him as he disappears into the crowd.

At that moment, I am also speechless, and fear weakens all the joints in my body as I move towards the bed to lie down, without the energy to carry on watching.

And as of that moment, phones start ringing tirelessly, one after the other as people who are not in the vicinity start checking if everyone is okay as they have seen on TV of the events transpiring in the CBD.

“Are you okay……”

“Be safe…………”

“Stay in doors for some time…,” are the Whatsapp messages dominating in most of the foreigners’ inboxes.

The day ends’ and uncertainty best describes the environment in Johannesburg.

“I swear to God this is the longest week in South Africa, but its only Tuesday,” read one status on WhatsApp the next morning.

Uncertainty is still at its peak as rumors dominate social media that the attacks are not over yet.

In town, people are still scared, and they run whenever they see another person running.

“I came back running because l saw a crowd running approaching me in the morning while l was on my way to buy bread, when l asked another man why we were running he said he just joined the crowd as he feared that the rowdy crowd was at it again,” Masuku said.

While it remains dangerous to be at the CBD this week, foreigners have no choice but to continue working as they fear being fired.

“This is not like home were you can skip work because of strikes. Here if you skip work they fire you, so we just have to soldier on and go to work although we are always in perpetual fear that they may attack us and maim us while we are working,”

“We have to pay rent every month and we need money for food and other expenses. So staying at home is not an option, as being fired means me and my family will end up in the streets and hungry. We are between the fire and hard surface and it’s difficult to survive in the circumstances.”

Going back home is also no option for Masuku.

“Back home the cost of living is very high nowadays. I don’t have a qualification and if l turn my back on South Africa, me and my family will become a burden to other people, My life is now here in South Africa,” he says.

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