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What We're Learning

Report: South African Civil Society and Xenophobia

Strategy & Tactics

12 July 2010

This comprehensive 500-page report, coordinated by Strategy & Tactics, was written by some of South Africa's leading social and political scientists as well as civil society activists. The report analyses the conditions that allowed xenophobic violence to erupt in South Africa in May 2008, leaving 62 people dead.

But its real focus is on civil society organisations, which played a key role in mitigating the worst of the violence and assisting victims, while the state dithered.

The report includes comparative chapters looking at the post-election violence in Kenya and the genocide in the Great Lakes region, and provides the first comprehensive and progressive review of civil society in South Africa for many years.

The study offers a host of recommendations for civil society organisations, both in regard to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers - a chapter specifically written by migrant civil society organisations operating within South Africa is included. The study also comments more generally on what is needed to maintain the strength, visibility and coherence that this critical sector displayed in the transition to democracy, and again in responding to xenophobic violence.

The contents of the report can be obtained in multiple ways:

  • Download a consolidated synthesis (all 10 synthesis chapters in one PDF, 2.4mb) and consolidated case studies (all 14 case studies in one PDF, 7.5mb)
  • Download chapters of the synthesis and case studies individually (PDFs), from the full listing below
  • Order a CD-ROM via email (will open a new e-mail in your e-mail program); direct e-mail contact address (if the above does not work on your system): g.bayne@atlanticphilanthropies.org 

 

List of Contents (full report): 


Synthesis Report

1. Overview & prospects (262k)

David Everatt, Strategy & Tactics/Gauteng City-Region Observatory

 

2. Summary of findings and recommendations (233k)

Jenny Parsley, independent researcher

David Everatt, Strategy & Tactics/Gauteng City-Region Observatory

 

3. Setting the scene: Migration and urbanisation in South Africa (713k)

Sally Peberdy, University of the Western Cape

 

4. ‘What happened’ A narrative of the May 2008 xenophobic violence (717k)

Annsilla Nyar, Gauteng City-Region Observatory

 

5. ‘Xenophobia and civil society: Why did it happen? (754k)

Patrick Bond, Trevor Ngwane and Baruti Amisi, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

6. Problematising civil society: On what terrain does xenophobia flourish? (745k)

Patrick Bond, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Mary Galvin, independent researcher

Mazibuko Jara, independent researcher and co-editor of Amandla

Trevor Ngwane, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

7. The media’s coverage of xenophobia and the xenophobic violence prior to and including May 2008 (618k)

Matthew Smith, Strategy & Tactics

 

8. Migrant voices (762k)

Baruti Amisi, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

9. Genocide and the Great Lakes Region (541k)

Matthew Smith, Strategy & Tactics

 

10. Stopping a conflagration: The response of Kenyan civil society to the post-2007 election violence (606k)

Karuti Kanyinga, Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi

 


Case Studies

1. ‘That violence was just the beginning…’: Views on ‘foreigners’ and the May 2008 xenophobic violence as expressed in focus groups staged at the time (659k)

David Everatt, Strategy & Tactics/Gauteng City-Region Observatory

 

2. Progressive humanitarian and social mobilisation in a neo-apartheid Cape Town: a report on civil society and the May 2008 xenophobic violence (3mb)

Mazibuko Jara, independent researcher and co-editor of Amandla

Sally Peberdy, University of the Western Cape

 

3. Xenophobia and civil society: Durban’s structured social divisions (1.3mb)

Baruti Amisi, Patrick Bond, Nokuthula Cele, Rebecca Hinley, Faith ka Manzi, Welcome Mwelase, Orlean Nairoo, Trevor Ngwane, Samantha Shwarer, Sheperd Zvavanhu, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

4. ‘Many shades of the truth’: the Ramaphosa case study (856k)

Nobayethi Dube, Strategy & Tactics

 

5. Khutsong and xenophobic violence: Exploring the case of the dog that didn’t bark (1.1mb)

Joshua Kirschner and Comfort Phokela, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg

 

6. Towards addressing the root causes of social tensions: evaluating civil society and local government responses to xenophobic violence in Alexandra (647k)

Luke Sinwell and Neo Podi, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg

 

7. Social movement responses to xenophobia: a case study of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, the Anti-Privatization Forum and The Coalition Against Xenophobia (877k)

Trevor Ngwane and Nonhlanhla Vilakazi, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg

 

8. COSATU’s responses to xenophobia (795k)

Mondli Hlatshwayo, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg

 

9. One centre of power: The African National Congress and the violence of May, 2008