I was aware of a strong undercurrent of xenophobia in South Africa during my years there. I think part of it was due to strong tribal identification in Africa - it's your tribe versus all the others, and anyone not of your tribe is an "other" by definition, regardless of whether you share a skin color, religion, or anything else. (That's pretty universal in more primitive cultures around the world, by the way. In an inordinate number of cases, tribes' names for themselves in their own language refer to themselves as "the people", meaning that any and all others are not "people". For example, the Comanche tribe refer to themselves as "Nʉmʉnʉʉ" or "Nemenuh", meaning "the people".)
It seems nothing's changed in South Africa - in fact, xenophobia appears to be getting overtly political.
Operation Dudula was set-up in Soweto two years ago, the first group to formalise what had been sporadic waves of xenophobia-fuelled vigilante attacks in South Africa that date back to shortly after white-minority rule ended in 1994. It calls itself a civic movement, running on an anti-migrant platform, with the word "dudula" meaning "to force out" in Zulu.
Soweto was at the forefront of anti-apartheid resistance and home to Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president. Now, the township has become the home of the country's most-prominent anti-migrant group.
With one in three South Africans out of work in one of the most unequal societies in the world, foreigners in general have become an easy target.
. . .
Operation Dudula has ... now transformed itself from a local anti-migrant group into a national political party, stating its aims to contest next year's general election.
. . .
Ms Dabula says critics of Operation Dudula who maintain it is a collective of violent vigilantes are wrong.
"We don't promote violence and we don't want people to feel harassed," but adds: "We cannot be overtaken by foreign nationals and do nothing about it."
Hundreds of supporters travelled to attend its first national conference in Johannesburg in May, where members voted to register the group as a political party.
Waving South African flags, dancing and singing their way through the streets to the City Hall, it feels like a celebration.
However, the songs they are singing carry a threatening message: "Burn the foreigner. We will go to the garage, buy some petrol and burn the foreigner."
There's more at the link.
The BBC produced a one-hour documentary on "the rise of xenophobia in South Africa and the violent targeting of migrants". It's worth watching, if the subject interests you - and it should, because the same phenomenon is increasingly visible in the USA as well.
We're seeing the same xenophobia develop in our own communities, and it's entirely understandable. People who have relied on "their" government to help and support them are finding more and more that "their" supports are being diverted to the illegal aliens flooding across our southern border - and they're getting very angry about it. Consider these headlines:
I could have cited many more reports, from many more cities. Those merely illustrate the trend.
I keep my eyes and ears open to local reactions to the immigrant crisis. It's far from a "white problem". Many local (i.e. North Texas) black and hispanic residents are even more resentful of the alien invasion than whites are. I've heard a number of them go so far as to voice threats against any migrants who try to settle here and "take our jobs" or "fool with our women". They're not mild threats, either. People here are well aware of the "alien barrio" that's being erected near Houston, whether locals there like it or not (they weren't consulted). That's just a few hours' drive from here. Our locals are determined to prevent anything similar happening in this area - and public sentiment around here seems to be solidly behind them.
I wonder if the Democratic Party has shot itself in the foot, politically speaking, with its outright, outspoken support for illegal migration? It's historically relied upon black communities - and, to a certain extent, hispanic communities - for a lot of its electoral support. Now both those communities are feeling threatened, indeed overwhelmed, by the illegal alien problem. Will they withdraw their support from Democrats? If they do, will they merely stay at home instead of voting, or will they actively support another person or party? If they can't bring themselves to vote Republican, could they become the core of a new, anti-illegal-alien party like Operation Dudula is becoming in South Africa?
Another important question is how Mexican crime cartels are likely to respond if xenophobia gains ground in America. The cartels are currently making as much money, if not more, from getting illegal aliens through Mexico and into the USA as they are from drug dealing. If their income from that source is threatened by anti-immigrant sentiment in the USA, can they afford to tolerate it? Will they try to impose migrants on communities by violence? It's not a far-fetched question, because the cartels have shown willing (in Mexico) to use violence as a tool of policy under almost any circumstances, and even to take on the government and armed forces in open violent confrontation if they think it necessary.
This is going to get more and more "interesting" (in the sense of the fabled Chinese curse), particularly as the 2024 election campaign gets under way.