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Eight months ago, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and market research group Ipsos warned that there could be an increase in xenophobic attacks as SA sought to recover from Covid’s economic impact. At about the same time, the outgoing Nigerian consul general, Godwin Adama, said SA and Nigeria needed to urgently establish early warning systems to prevent xenophobic attacks.

Last Wednesday, as SA commemorated the June 16 1976 uprising, shops owned by foreigners in the Soweto suburbs of Mapetla and Naledi were looted and burnt. In the weeks before the public holiday, shop owners in various parts of Soweto had received letters that they had to leave Soweto by June 16. On social media a group called Dudula distributed posters emblazoned with the words: "Operation Dudula: we will be removing all illegal foreign nationals by force!!!"..

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