Does African pushback over xenophobic attacks highlight the regional decline of South Africa?

From a position of strength, post-apartheid South Africa has steadily lost its shine. It may need saving once again. South Africa’s Nkozazana Dlamini-Zuma is congratulated by president Jacob Zuma after being sworn in as the African Union Commission chair in July 2012. South Africa has lost much of its regional lustre. (Photo/AFP) BRAND South Africa is desperately mounting a fightback after a week of horrific xenophobic attacks mainly aimed at African nationals left its reputation sullied and Pretoria grappling with a major backlash from the rest of the continent.

The  condemnation from the region over the attacks that have left at least five foreign nationals and tens of thousands displaced was near-unanimous, with increasing calls for a boycott of the country’s multinationals and retaliation against other interests, and in some cases, against its nationals.

The anti-South Africa sentiment was laced with sharp reminders that South Africa had forgotten too soon the role the rest of Africa played in its anti-apartheid struggle, and which now provides new markets for its expansion-hungry companies.

A lot of the anger was directed towards the ambivalent responses by South African authorities, some of who are accused of sparking the attacks. In the early days some ministers seemed to justify the […]

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