The other is considered by the group as not belonging, as they have been culturally constructed as being fundamentally different in some way.” – Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos, sociologist. 

As news spread two weeks ago of xenophobic attacks against foreigners in Durban, Zimbabwean national Vincent Chumba locked himself inside his house in a village just outside the city near Savannah Park. But this did not stop an angry mob of about fifteen local men from coming to his house one night and breaking down his door.  The armed group ransacked his house and gathered all his valuable belongings before brutally assaulting him with knives. During the bloody assault the men stabbed him all over his chest, head, back and legs before they pinned him to the floor and tried to cut off his penis. His only crime? Being a foreigner who according to his assailants, doesn’t belong in South Africa. Vincent was left for dead but miraculously survived the assault. 

Hundreds of foreign nationals have fallen victim to the latest xenophobic violence that broke out in Durban and surrounding areas. In this week’s Special Assignment we bring you Vincent’s extraordinary story of survival amid a wave of violence against foreign nationals, that has cost the lives of seven people. We also unpack the psychology behind mob mentality and group incitement. 

Peace demonstrations have meant little for thousands of fearful foreigners who have sought refuge in displacements camps like Malawian Stanley Nyirenda, whose entire family has been uprooted, they will be returning to their home country. Stanley says “My 8-year old son has been psychologically damaged. He can’t go back to school because he is a foreigner. We are all human. We are all African.”

Watch this week’s Special Assignment episode titled “OTHER” on Sunday, 26 April 2015 at 20h30 on SABC 3. Repeated Mondays at 23:30PM.