More than twelve years after xenophobic attacks swept across South Africa’s townships and informal settlements, leaving at least 60 dead and thousands injured, photojournalists James Oatway and Alon Skuy have brought their work together in a new book – [BR]OTHER – published by Jacana Media in partnership with the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.
Xenophobia continues to be a source of violence in South Africa with social media posts referring euphemistically to “cleaning” of areas of their foreign residents and calling immigrants “cockroaches”.
[BR]OTHER is a visual record of this violence over the past twelve years. It aims to raise awareness of the dangers that lie in hatred, intolerance and indifference. It is an urgent call to action.
The foreword is written by Constitutional Court judge Justice Edwin Cameron. Another contributor, Professor Achille Mbembe, currently at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, reminds us that No African is a foreigner in Africa! No African is a migrant in Africa! Africa is where we all belong!
A man and child cross under the border fence between Zimbabwe and South Africa on 27 June 2008. © James Oatway
Pedestrians duck for cover as police attempt to control unrest in the Johannesburg inner city. © Alon Skuy
A man fights the flames engulfing a shack in Ramaphosa. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, more than 342 shops looted and 213 burnt down in the weeks of violence that swept the country in May and June 2008. © Alon Skuy
A refugee reads his bible at a temporary shelter in a field outside a police station on the East Rand. Makeshift camps and shelters had to be hastily erected and some migrants requested repatriation to their home countries. © James Oatway
Mthintha Bhengu moves in to stab Emmanuel Sithole. On 18 April 2015, Emmanuel Sithole was selling goods at a small table in Alexandra in Johannesburg, when three men and a minor approached his stand and stole a packet of cigarettes. Sithole was stabbed in an ensuing struggle and died from his wounds. © James Oatway
Armed with weapons ranging from a rock to a masonry hammer, hostel dwellers – large numbers of them unemployed – vocalise their anger at migrants who they believe are taking food off their tables. © Alon Skuy
A police helicopter hovers above Madala Men’s Hostel in Alexandra during a late-night raid to search for weapons used in recent attacks. © Alon Skuy
A heavily outnumbered man is saved by producing his South African ‘book of life’ after being attacked during an ‘anti-crime’ march that turned into an ‘anti-migrant’ hunt. © James Oatway
As angry bands of smash-and-grabbers run amok through the inner-city streets, a man lays waste to a butchery window before the meat was looted. © James Oatway
Vigilantes demand entry to a house in Orange Grove. The occupant, who claimed to be South African, was forced to open the gate and was turned out onto the pavement with all his possessions. © Alon Skuy
Reverend Omphemetse Dimo leads a memorial service in Coronationville on Johannesburg’s West Rand for Isaac Sebaku who was killed during xenophobic unrest. © Alon Skuy
Friends escort Bora, second from right, to the airport to say goodbye as she leaves to start her new life outside of South Africa. © James Oatway