So much for 'African' solidarity:
There is anger among poor South Africans at the lack of opportunities and change in the country, with frustrations often boiling over into violent street protests. Officially, unemployment runs at 24%, though the real figure is much higher, with more than half of under-25-year-olds out of work. Foreigners are an easy scapegoat, especially Somalis and Pakistanis resented for running successful small shops in the townships. The last census, in 2011, found 2.3m foreign-born people living in South Africa, though the number is probably higher. Some think there are as many as 5m-6m foreigners in a country of 54m.
The government’s response has often been to describe incidents as “criminality” rather than admit to a specific problem with violence against foreigners. Recent policies have, moreover, fostered a negative view of foreigners, such as the debate over proposals to prevent them from buying land. South Africa’s Institute of Race Relations, a liberal think-tank, points to the “absolute failure” of government policy to deal with unemployment and with deficiencies in the education system. It warns that xenophobic attacks may well increase as the economy weakens.
Across Africa, there have been boycotts of South African musicians, and demonstrations at South African embassies. South African lorries were stoned at a border crossing and Sasol, a petrochemicals firm, suspended some of its operations in central Mozambique and repatriated South African staff for fear of retaliatory attacks. Desmond Tutu, a former archbishop of Cape Town and an anti-apartheid stalwart, captured the mood of many: “Our rainbow nation that so filled the world with hope is being reduced to a grubby shadow of itself. The fabric of the nation is splitting.