IJSRP, Volume 11, Issue 3, March 2021 Edition [ISSN 2250-3153]
Mildred Achieng’ Onyango
Xenophobia, the fear for the stranger, the foreigner or fear of the unusual, manifests through attitudes of exclusion and acts of violence and intolerance towards other people and their culture. In the post-apartheid South African set-up, emotions of hatred and vilification of ‘blacks’ have played out in recurrent incidents of xenophobia. Natives have found a convenient scapegoat in the black immigrants who are subjected to dehumanizing practices that alienate them as ‘other’, resulting into psychic trauma and acts of self-destruction. That former victims of apartheid subjugation have become perpetrators of similar hatred against humanity exposes xenophobia as a complex psycho-social pervasion that requires a more conscious interrogation. Psychoanalysis explains xenophobia as one of the mechanisms through which perpetrators project their frustration and repressed emotions on people perceived to be different. The study reaffirms the scapegoat thesis and further explores other unconscious drives, uncanny expressions and implications of xenophobic hegemony on the characters as exemplified in the post-apartheid novels: Niq Mhlongo’s After Tears (2007) and Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow (2001).