Why we hate foreigners
Dimakatso Makoena is busy making sandwiches in a school kitchen in Kwa Thema, a township east of Johannesburg. Over the past 10 years, the 57-year-old single parent of three has worked as a cook there.
Her eyes well up with tears as she says, “To be honest, I hate foreigners. I wish they would just leave.”.
When Ms Makoena pulls out her phone to show a picture of her son, the strength of this hate becomes apparent. Emaciated with a glazed look in his eyes, angry burn scars spread over his body, up his arms and across his face.
“He started smoking drugs when he was 14,” she says, explaining that he often steals things to feed his addiction. As he tried to take some power cables to sell, he got electrocuted and burned. In South Africa, her son uses crystal meth and nyaope, a highly addictive street drug. Her reasoning and support for Operation Dudula only become evident when she blames foreigners for selling the drugs.
“Dudula is the only thing that keeps me going,” she tells the
In Soweto, Operation Dudula was founded two years ago, formalizing sporadic waves of xenophobia-fueled vigilante attacks dating back to shortly after white minority rule ended in 1994. With the word “dudula” meaning “to force out” in Zulu, it calls itself a civic movement.