South Africa. April 2015
Comments by Goodwill Zwelithini, the Zulu king, have spurred anti-immigrant attacks and sent South Africa into turmoil. The country, which Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed the Rainbow Nation after it shook off Apartheid rule, has seen at least seven die in violent xenophobic attacks in the wake of Zwelithini’s comments interpreted as calling foreigners “fleas” who needed to be squashed. Zwelithini has since denied he was attacking immigrants, saying his comments were misinterpreted and calling the xenophobic attacks “vile.” Still, the violence continues in Durban, KwaZulu Natal – the seat of Zulu power – and in Johannesburg. The attacks have caused outrage among South Africa’s neighbors and its African trading partners, opening rifts with Zimbabwe, which has many nationals working in South Africa, and Nigeria, which has withdrawn diplomatic envoys from Pretoria.