Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies: Africa

First Advisor

Garth Myers

Second Advisor

Seth Markle


South Africa has for at least the past 6 years experienced the problem of violence against African immigrants. The violence has become popularly known as “xenophobia”. In the thesis I investigate why the “xenophobic” violence broke out against African immigrants in Alexandra, May 2008. I also attempt to give explanation for to why it was poor Blacks that participated in the violence. I focus on the racist, anti-Black historical past Blacks experienced in South Africa and how this past contributed to violence that broke out. I use Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko’s philosophies to analyze the violence because both authors’ works are focused in explaining the Black person’s experience under a colonial (in South Africa’s case apartheid) situation and how these experiences can translate into violence against their fellow Blacks. At the center of both Biko and Fanon’s ideologies is the idea of alienation Blacks experience. Alienation encompasses the economic exclusion Blacks experienced during apartheid and continue to experience today, together with the inferiority complex they hold. The paper also questions what the violence should be named and the problems that arise with simply calling it xenophobia. Lastly in the paper I propose a means in which the root causes of the violence can be addressed using Biko’s Black Consciousness ideologies and Fanon’s anti colonial revolutionary theories


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor or Arts in International Studies.