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Briefing paper

BP82: Tolerance in South Africa: Exploring popular attitudes toward foreigners

16 Apr 2015
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Violence against foreigners has become common since the transition to multi-party rule in 1994. During this period, South Africa’s borders have become more porous, and individuals from several African countries – especially Zimbabwe – have migrated to the country in search of security and opportunities for social mobility. Prior to the transition to democracy, members of the ruling National Party (NP) tightly controlled South Africa’s borders . Apartheid-era migration policies thus effectively inhibited contact between South Africans and those from other African nations , and are perhaps at the root of isolationist tendencies that are still alive today.  This paper examines individuals’ tolerance of foreigners in the aftermath of one of the most severe outbreaks of xenophobic violence witnessed in South Africa in 2008.