The recent xenophobic attacks on foreigners which happened kwazulu Natal and Johannesburg clearly indicate that most South Africans continue to blame asylum seekers, refugees and migrants for their socio-economic difficulties. It is also unfortunate that young people are at the forefront of these violent and unprovoked attacks.
Researchers have shown that people who are more discriminative, racist or xenophobic are those that have less meaningful interactions and socialization with their counterparts. These processes of interaction, however, will only succeed if they are specifically constructed programmes to allow for dialogue and meaningful interaction. This means that such interaction cannot just be coincidental, but needs to be organized and facilitated.
Africa Unite has developed a skills sharing program where skilled foreign nationals are identified in order to share their skills with their local counterparts especially in disadvantaged communities. This program allows the foreign nationals to contribute to the host country (South Africa) and change the attitude of local communities towards foreign nationals, thus reducing xenophobic tendencies. Below are some of activities undertaken by AU in the areas of common interest between the locals and foreign nationals:
- Business skills sharing
- Savings Scheme
- Languages teaching e.g. Swahili lessons with the SAPS.
- Mathematics and Science tutoring
The above activities have promoted tolerance and respect for diversity and fundamental human rights for all, regardless of age, gender or nationality.