An instance of xenophobia: An investigation into the violence against somali traders in Khayelitsha
South Africa has been praised by many as having the most democratic constitution in the world which safeguards the rights of all who live within the borders of the nation. Ironically this has not been so with migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers, mainly of African origin. Attacks on these groups have been on the increase since the 1990s with little protection of their rights and dignities by the South African authorities. Many of the attacks reported takes place in townships and informal settlements which is mostly inhabited by black South Africans. The purpose of this study was to investigate the attacks on Somali traders in the township of Khayelitsha. The study adopted the theory of prejudice functionalism and relative deprivation theory. In addition, the Scape-goat hypothesis, the isolation hypothesis and the Bio-cultural hypothesis theories were also applied through the study. Qualitative research approaches were used to probe into the attacks against Somali traders in the township of Khayelitsha. Analysis of data was done through content analysis where data was presented thematically by narratives that relate to the study objectives. The findings indicate that the major causes for xenophobia operated in a cycle that has four stages. Hatred causes of the attacks by the local community, which are criminal in nature. Finally, once the attacks have subsided, the Somali traders cope by opening up new shops; either within Khayelitsha or in other areas. After some time; the cycle repeats itself. The behaviour of government officers in different departments also displayed acute hatred for the Somalis and as a result, the service delivery of those departments was not satisfactory. The study therefore recommended that the government should put in place a mechanism where the victims can access justice. This starts from reporting at the police to the investigation and prosecution of culprits in courts of law.