Violence in South Africa: Audio slideshow

May 27, 2008

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Wow, Mr. Sibeko is a bold man. I like these slideshows lately. 😀

Posted by Daniel Woolfolk | Report as abusive

My brother lives in SA. I hope it’s calming down. He’s a white foreigner, so probably protected in the mine towns of Mpumalunga, but it’s a scary scene of nationalism which Mandela surely condemns.

Thank you for the photos and narrative.

Posted by Nic | Report as abusive

Amazing report. Shocking, disturbing, yes. But also a testimony to those risking their safety to bring the story to us, something we take for granted as we watch or read the news in comfort.

But enough of the side observation. The story is of course cruelty and barbarous behavior toward impoverished and defenseless immigrants. The fact that the perpetrators themselves are impoverished as well does not in any sense make it excusable, justified or understandable. Call it what it is: mob violence bullying of the defenseless.

Posted by MikeM | Report as abusive

Man, this is heart weakening… especially a man burnt alive… God be with them!! whatever their situation might be

Posted by Harish | Report as abusive

Thank you for the report, it must have been scary and heart breaking to see what humans are capable of. I saw a report last year on youtube about how this was happening to somalia’s in Capetown. Their stores were burned also lots of somalia’s were shoot or burned to death. That was a year ago, I was wondering if there were any somalia’s left in capetown alive.

Posted by nura | Report as abusive

I am from Africa. For how long are we going to act like this. I am tired of the retardedness of our people killing each other. Wake up africa. In the time of cooperation and growing together why are we killing each other and looking more like savage animals .. wake up

Posted by Abe | Report as abusive

was it the photographers decision to end with white guys with rifles?

yellow journalism is not ancient history…

Tell the story..the actors…who’s killing who?


Posted by gleepwurp | Report as abusive

I think South Africa must take a solid stand to fight these violence and control the situation. As a South African born but now living in Botswana, I am afraid I might become a subject of ill treatment becuase of such. Since the violence, people who know me and my friends now pass silly comments and nasty remarks about south Africa. Yesterday I was purchasing and used my credit card. The shop Assistant openly passed a remak and said, “i hate South Africans, they are idiots” She had noticed in my Botswanan National Identity card that I was SA born. My Botswana date has also started to avoid me and time and again she worries about a relationship with me becuase of my status as SA born and has linked our date to the violence. The government must take action as this might affect those of us in other countires.

Posted by Pascal Raditsebe | Report as abusive

Is this the only way they could get rid of foreigners.Seeing this make me wonder who are the people accused of crime “foreigners or locals”. This can only be done by cold blooded people

Posted by Nombulelo | Report as abusive

Great report… Its amazing how we photographers always go out to document everything that happens in a scene, dangerous or not its documented. Yet a lot of peolple always turn to take us for granted when we give them a picture than words. Its cruel to see another human being treated the way they treat these foreigners this way. Some years back, South Africans were running away to neighbouring countries during apartheid era, now they have forgoten how they used to leave and they are turning their backs on the same people who used help them when times were bad for them.

Posted by Pako Lesejane | Report as abusive

Sad. That’s what this has become.
I thought we were all from teh same motherland; Africa. I’m truly saddened and grieve for those who lost loved ones and livelihoods in the melee. Pole sana

Posted by Diana Ngila | Report as abusive

Thanks to the journalist for showing the world what is happening. He is doing what God wants, which is reflecting the truth in the media. Please be careful though.

Posted by tom | Report as abusive

All white people shold leave Afrika. Their race will be destroyed sooner or later by shear numbers of blacks who will than turn on each other as misery created by white people demise blacks would not be able to overcome.

Posted by Mobutu Seiko | Report as abusive

South african thugs have a major problem, they are not educated, qualified in anything and look at their standard of accomodatiom. It says a lot about Mbeki. Does he know this is where his people live and is he proud to be their leader? I wonder if that man has any conscience at all.Anyway to you thugs there is an African saying-What befals your brother is not something to laugh about, one day it will be you. Mark my words. I hope your victims will get descent burial but this does not make anyone of you better

Posted by Mwana Wevhu | Report as abusive

This is what happens when people have been suppressed for the longest time. Being forced to adjust to situation that paints a picture of contentment while inside furry over lack of jobs to support their livelihoods. These people whose lack of power have only turned their frustration to the immigrants who seemed to be doing well in a places where the locals dont have the same opportunities. If the SouthAfrican government can deliver the long awaited promises of jobs, and improve their living habitats then these people will perceive a sense of control over their own conditions and would perhaps not turn to barbaric ways to gain control. These are not thugs they are people who have families and loved ones (believe it or not).

I am not in anyway approving of their action but you can only suppress people to a point. There is no problem with Africans, we are still in the psychological healing process of being colonised by the European powers. Africans leaders should come up with strategies for Africans inline with our diversed cultures!

Posted by Carol Njoki | Report as abusive

To Mobutu Seiko:
The universe is no respector of man. All black, white, yellow people, plants, insects, animals have the creative force within them. The sentences you just posted, “All white people shold leave Afrika. Their race will be destroyed sooner or later by shear numbers of blacks who will than turn on each other as misery created by white people demise blacks would not be able to overcome.” Is destructive to the efforts of peace in this world.
We are all one people, we all bleed, we all fart, we all cry, we all love (believe it or not).
I just hope that the people in power should emphasize unity and that parents should teach the future generation on how to get along with one another and to let history not repeat itself.

Posted by Carol Njoki | Report as abusive

as a south african i am ashamed of some of my people. afraid for all of my people and will live in consistent debt to the families who have suffered loss at our hands. pray that the rest of Africa shows us some mercy when we cross borders.

Posted by clarissa | Report as abusive

Black South African leadership is to blame because they have failed to deliver their promises to their people :they are instead busy getting rich and wasting their time in court for sex scandals.
In the other hand, I have heard numerous stories of those ghetto youth giving easy excuses for their lack of ambition and willingness. There are opportunities for education and empowerment as nowhere else in Africa. Foreigners are more intelligent than them.
Why young black South Africans can’t follow the example of the Somali shopkeepersfor instance who have started their businessess from scratch.

Posted by Slowriver | Report as abusive

I Might Not Be A South African.
I Might Not Be A South African..
I might not be a South African

But I’m black, my skin is the same as yours
My colour is the same as yours
My genes are African, nothing but African
When your leaders were beaten by whites
I was there to shelter them
I was patient with them
I offered them food, shelter,
Most of all, I offered them protection

I might be a South African

I can’t speak Zulu, cause I’m Vhenda
I can’t speak Zulu, cause I’m Shangaan
I don’t know what an elbow is in Zulu
As much as you don’t know it in my language
Since when was Zulu the only South African language?
Yes……………I’m not from Gauteng
I was not born here, but I’m South African
Where should I go if you beat me
I’m not beating your father, mother, brother or sister who works at my area in the mines
I’m not calling them makwerekwere though they can’t speak my language.

I might be dark in complexion

I might have the foreigners looks
I might have the foreigners body structure
Now I am scared to go to the only place that I call home
I’m scared of working down the street without my ID
Whites wanted me to do that centuries ago
Now you, my black brother is acting white

Why should you Black South Africans do this?

What makes you think that you better than me?
Who told you that I’m responsible for your unemployment?
Who told you that I’m less human
If I need to go back to Vhenda……..let all the Zulus go back to KZN
Let all the Tswana’s go back to Botswana
Let all the Sotho’s go back to Lesotho
Let all the Ndebele’s go back to Kwandebele
Let all the Xhosa’s go back to Eastern Cape
Yes…………let all the Swati’s go back to Swaziland

Is this not ignorance?

Your unemployment is your responsibility
Use your intellect
Get up and work
Let education empower you
Seek humanity

Before 1994 you blamed whites
Now you are blaming me
Who are you going to blame after chasing me away?
Who are you going to blame after killing me?

For what it’s worth…………………..

I’m sorry I was not born here
I’m sorry I can’t speak Zulu
I’m sorry for being too dark for your Joburg
I’m sorry for cleaning the toilets you don’t want to clean
I’m sorry for doing your garden
I’m sorry for repairing your shoes
I’m sorry for protecting your leaders while they were in Exile
Yes…………………what you call Exile……… my country

And most of all…….I’m sorry for building South African infrastructure

Please my brothers let there be peace and prosperity amongst black African people.

Written by a Teary Black African ……

Posted by Micha S | Report as abusive

Great report and slideshow.
I really hope news agencies like Reuters keep on top of this story. I suspect that had there not been tragedies in Burma and China, that this horrendous violence in South Africa would have remained front page news for a lot longer than it did.
The story is far from over though. There are thousands of refugees in camps all over South Africa. The various levels of government have all been slow to react, and conditions in many of the camps are abysmal. The refugees in many camps are asking for UN assistance – a plea that so far the SA governments have rejected – as they believe the conditions are so bad that disease and death are serious risks.
As if the violence wasn’t bad enough, it now appears that the governments’ lack of action is going to put a lot more lives at risk, and perhaps worsen the xenophobia.
As a white foreigner living in South Africa, I am totally appalled at the weak response from city, provinical and the national governments. Their callous lack of meaningful response suggests that they don’t care much or that this is life as usual in another pitiful African nation. Their inaction and apparent desire to shirk any responsibility speaks volumes about the state of this nation. It’s seems South African leadership has taken the more expedient route to blame “third forces”, use the situation for political ends and dodge any responsibility rather than stand up, lead and take action to help these people.
The lack of government relief action has created a vacuum that is being filled by NGOs, churches and individuals, but the governments’ lack of moral leadership is sewing the seeds for this to occur again, soon.
The refugees in the camps are becoming increasingly resentful of the lack of government support and are now pleading for the UN to intervene in the relief efforts as they have no confidence in government and further believe that conditions in the camps are already deteriorating to the point where disease and death are serious short-term risks.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

The orgy of violence witnessed in South Africa against foreigners leaves mouths agape. My position is that such an occurance must be investigated, with the vigour it deserves. Who knows, it could be the beginning of a major strife!!!.

Posted by Mark Oloo, Kenya | Report as abusive

Eish your pix Bro i hope they would show those who subscribe to xenophobia that akusizi why hatred to another black brother.

Posted by Lucky Tshuma | Report as abusive

I lived in South Africa for 25 years. From 1971 to 1996. Yes I ran away because I could see what would happen, it was expected, as obviously if your rights are taken away from you and the after International intervenion you are given rights, things will change. We decided to put our tail between our legs and run while the going was good. Yes we were there for the elections and stood for hours in the que to vote back then. But what still astounds us is that that the New South Africans back then thought that the day after the Election that the coutry would be different and that all the so called luxuries that we had would just fall out of the sky and they would live happily ever after. But they are now starting to realise that it does not matter who is in charge of the country, the people at the top are there to line there own pockets and do not given a dam about the working person who put them there to represent them. Yes I do in away feel sorry for those who are being victimised, but hey we were victimised aswell. That is why we left, because we knew that the Rainbow Nation would not be the land of milk and honey ever again. We returned to SA in 2000 to see if we had made the right decision and believe me we were not 10 k’s for the airport when my wife, (who is a born South African) asked when can we go home. The young South African’s have to realise that they have to accept other people from other countries as other countries have accepted them. The question I would like someone there to answer. Why ar you called the rainbow nation, Show me a country in the world that does not have a mixed culture, it is about time you lot woke up and started living like civilised people and regards to an earlier comment from Mwana Wevhu regarding education. My parents worked hard and paid taxes all there life while there and out of that money they build schools which were burnt to the ground and so blew there oppertunity to learn and be educated. NO I DO NOT FEEL FOR THE SOUTH AFRICANS. They have voted for what they wanted and now must face the consiquenses. I just hope they do as I still have family there, who refuse to leave because they love the place and are willing to fight for what the have earned.

Posted by Barry | Report as abusive


“All white people shold leave Afrika”


Posted by ndumiso | Report as abusive

One party governments are ineffective all over the world. Why should South Africa be any different? Crime, power cuts, corruption, waste, inefficient government workers, weak AIDS policy, weakness with Mugabe and now racist riots. Its time for a real multi-party democracy to arrise in the Republic of South Africa.

The people of South Africa need to vote out the ANC in the next election and bring in the opposition for atleast one election cycle; teach the ANC a lesson.

Posted by Ayan | Report as abusive

Why codemn this violence, violence is the heart of africa.

Posted by Gottfried Mader | Report as abusive

okay, so last time i checked, the goverment was elected by the people, so were is the milk and honey that was promised??? sorry, no sympathy here, deal with it, its what people voted for. just a shame so many good and hardworking black and white people have to suffer because of ignorant others

Posted by jacques van niekerk | Report as abusive