Tag Archives: Soweto

Xenophobia: SA government’s careless utterances could cost lives

“Foreign business owners in SA’s townships cannot expect to coexist peacefully with local business owners unless they share trade secrets.” These were the words of Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu when speaking about how government will tackle the looting and violence against foreign business owners. What this can be translated to is: “Give me…

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Migration, get used to it South Africa

One reason migration enters social and political agendas with greater frequency and salience currently in host societies is because it is seen as disturbing the sense of boundedness. Migrants call attention to the permeability of borders. They enter previously delineated and structured social, economic, cultural, political and, of course, physical spaces. The “threat” of migration…

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The painful context behind the xenophobic violence in Soweto

The xenophobic violence in Soweto has elicited a much-needed public debate on the possible causes and what to do about it. Radio talk shows have discussed this issue the whole week. Researchers have also weighed in with interesting data that demonstrate that these traders are not as dominant as we might think. But what we…

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Pogroms in Mandelaland

With regard to the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence, I can do no better than quote Ranjeni Munusamy, who wrote (Daily Maverick, January 23): “Incidents of racism and xenophobia have again exposed South Africa as a superficial, ugly, violent nation that lacks respect for other human beings. From exclusive restaurants in Cape Town that discriminate…

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Poverty, inequality to blame for mayhem in Soweto

It is generally accepted that social unrest and other forms of instability are driven by multiple factors that have, for whatever reasons, been ignored for a long time. Poverty and unemployment are real and visible everywhere you go in the black townships. In such a depressing environment, all it needs is a spark to ignite…

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The sociology of soccer

A few weeks ago, I was invited to respond to a paper at a seminar jointly hosted by the departments of sociology and anthropology at the University of Johannesburg. The presenter was soccer sociologist Dr Marc Fletcher, a post-doctoral fellow in the department and his paper interrogated as part of a larger thesis, that both…

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ANC lives and leads: A burning reminder

By Petunia Mpoza I wake up to the beep of my phone, signalling messages from friends and comrades alike, ensuring departure centres and time. It is at this moment that I realise that it is more than simply individuals from all walks of life who congregate in African National Congress regalia. It is not simply…

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Gang rape, jackrolling, lepanta: a societal problem

I grew up in a village outside Polokwane in Limpopo. At school and in the community we would always hear older boys talking about lepanta. As a young boy, I knew lepanta to be a Sotho word for “belt”. I soon learnt that it was coined by boys in the street corners to mean “when…

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