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Against thy Neighbour: The Rise of Xenophobic Populism in South Africa

Zusammenhalt begreifen.


Constanze Blum


South Africa is currently being rocked by mass demonstrations and attacks against immigrants. The country has seen several episodes of xenophobic violence since the late 1990s. However, the current situation represents an unprecedented exacerbation of anti-foreigner propaganda. In order to make sense of these recent developments, this blog post looks into the rise of a »New Right«, epitomized by political parties such as the newly founded ActionSA as well as the infamous Operation Dudula, an overtly xenophobic campaign. It further dives into the country’s recent past and highlights the painful legacy of apartheid that continues to affect various aspects of the social, political and economic realities in the wider subregion today. How can the prevalence of xenophobia in the early 2020s be explained in South Africa, a country that was foreseen to become a beacon of liberal constitutionalism and human rights after its first democratic elections in 1994 and that represented a safe haven for so many across the continent?


Blum, Constanze. 2023. Against thy Neighbour: The Rise of Xenophobic Populism in South Africa. Zusammenhalt begreifen. 22.02.2023. url:

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