As many people the world over now know, South Africa, once the 'rainbow nation', a haven of tolerance and acceptance, is in the throws of a spate of 'xenophobic' attacks. How much the attacks have to do with actual xenophobia and how much is simply displaced rage at the government for failing to provide the necessary poverty alleviation and housing that they promised, I do not know. It has been really terrible to watch how a small band of disgruntled citizens have completely destroyed the countries image and caused untold suffering to the people that they are attacking.
While all of this has been happening, something that has fallen to the wayside is the reactions of the rest of the population to the violence. Naturally, good people don't make for good news, unless they slip up and get caught doing something bad. But it has really been amazing to see just how the country has opened it's arms to those affected by the violence and has taken them in.
Over the airwaves, there have been public declarations of disgust over the behaviour of the individuals perpetrating this violence, and unusually, there have been no misguided politicians saying that they agree with the xenophobes! (This sort of idiotic thing does tend to happen with South African politics...). It's been refreshing to see that the vast majority of the country actually have their heads screwed on the right way and have shown that they will not tolerate this behaviour!
As well as simple lip service, there have been countless charities and volunteers that have given of their time and money to help the displaced. There are shelters being set up everywhere, for affected peoples to stay, out of harms way. People are volunteering at police stations to help feed and clothe people, as well as help look after children. It has been truely amazing to see that we are not a bunch of ignorant thugs who can't think for ourselves, but are in fact a caring nation who love who we are and are not willing to allow the actions of few to ruin it for the rest of us! Well done South Africa, your actions have made me proud to be a South African and to share this beautiful, amazing place with you, in love.