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Xenophobic Fever

Andrew Kebuura/Twenty Ten

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Foreigners fear xenophobia after FIFA World Cup.

A hatred of foreigners could over-shadow the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup once the final whistle of the tournament is blown, if reports are anything to go by. For the second time, world attention could be focused on Africa’s biggest economy for all of the wrong reasons.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the 2010 FIFA World Cup has brought only excitement, revenue and publicity to South Africa. It is also not unreasonable to believe that the exposure Bafana Bafana players are enjoying ahead of a busy transfer window in Europe next month is a crucial step in their careers.

However, all is not well on the other side of the coin. A considerable chunk of the foreign population here in South Africa has been spending sleepless nights since the tournament kicked off. Local media and politicians have reportedly claimed the riots could happen again and past mistakes be repeated. The argument is that the invaders, foreigners in this case, have grabbed all the jobs, business opportunities and everything claimable from the natives, things the locals want back.

There is an almost tangible fear that xenophobic fever is going to rear its ugly head after the tournament’s curtains are lowered. People are terrified and many have no idea what to do, or where to go.  

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