Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Black South Africans form xenophobic hunting parties

Black South Africans are forming hunting parties to chase black foreigners from their suburbs.

Victor Khupiso of the Sunday Times spoke to black SA teenage boys who raid shacks and shebeens every week in an organised fashion, ‘flushing out’ all foreigners, the so-called much-hated ‘kwerekwere’.

Last Friday night, Mozambique-born Francisco Nobunga, 57, who had returned to his South African wife after the violence, was hauled out of his shack and hacked to death.

'Foreigner-free Society'

While the Mbeki-regime preaches 'reintegration', the hunt is on every Friday night in Ramaphosa squatter camp near Reiger Park, th
e Sunday Times journalist reports.

The locals call this thei
r “Kwerekwere-Free (Foreigner-Free) Society” campaign.

Gangs of young men and teenage boys continue unhindered conducting door-to-door raids on shacks. Amaphosa, outside Reiger Park, east of Johannesburg, was the scene of some of the worst atrocities committed during May’s xenophobic violence that left 62 dead and 30000 displaced.

Images of Mozambican Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave burning to death in a field outside the settlement shocked the world. He was buried recently in Mozambique.

At 10pm on Fridays, pockets of about 20 youths — aged mostly between 17 and 23 and armed with machetes and crowbars — scour the streets for the foreigners they still blame for their poverty and suffering.

Body-searches

At a shebeen, liquor was thick on the breath of the kids who were conducting body searches of patrons, ordering them to pronounce Zulu words to determine whether or not they were 'genuine South Africans'. But there appears to be no foreigners living there anymore.

“Yini le?” (What is this?) demanded Sipho, a teenager, pointing to his elbow, of a man wearing a red cap and whose skin Sipho believed was 'too dark for a South African'.

“Indololwane mfana,” (It’s an elbow, boy) replied the man, a Xhosa, who was asked the question because few foreigners know the Zulu word for elbow.

Unconvinced, Sipho demanded: “Uma umuntu ekhala kuphumani emehlweni?” (When you cry, what comes out of your eyes?). “Izinyembezi” (tears) responded the man.

Now convinced, Sipho spent the next half hour asking other patrons the same questions. Sipho explained that he was part of the Kwerekwere-Free Society campaign, which has waged every Friday night since the attacks against foreigners began in May.

Gangs of youths blow whistles, calling each other to begin the raids. Sipho was joined by two other drunk teenage boys, who said they aimed to “flush out” the remaining foreigners.

After the shebeen raid, the boys warned the owner not to allow foreigners to drink there or he would be “punished”.

At about 10.30pm, the gang split up into groups of four to raid surrounding shacks. When asked how he could identify foreigners, Sipho says it’s easy. “These people can’t even pronounce easy words like indololwane.

We have a list of other words that we tell them to say and they fumble and bite their tongues.”

“The government is forcing us to accept these people back into our area. We will fight it. I can proudly say foreigners have decided to leave our area because they know what would happen to them if they are found. They would burn. “Hell is waiting for them. We have stored some tyres,” said Sipho.

The gangs of boys continued their raid way past midnight.

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