Following a massive social response condemning xenophobic violence, 30,000 people showed unity and solidarity with people who flee unlivable conditions in their home countries by marching through the streets of Johannesburg.

Despite strong calls nationally from civil society against xenophobia, it persists at many levels, including health service.

There is deep need for policies and practice dealing with the treatment of foreign nationals in health service that eliminates discrimination.

There are still many people still staying in camps, some in shelters, and others displaced throughout Durban, as they all feel it is not safe to go home or to return to their countries of birth.

For now, those foreign nationals living in South Africa unable to return home are in limbo.

MSF doctor Khin Kyaw assists Macdonald Samalani, 24, in a displacement camp coordinated by Gift of the Givers. Macdonald is from Malawi, and makes his way painting, building and working in gardens. He fled his home in Primrose – with two blankets and a bag – when people started raiding his house in recent xenophobic attacks. Macdonald doesn’t want to stay in South Africa anymore. Photo: Taryn Arnott/MSF

MSF team, Dr Gemma Arellano, speaks to a young girl who sought refuge in a displacement camp in Durban. Photo: Greg Lomas


Kasai (39) and his wife Coco (34) with their young daughters Aimee and Dorothea in a tented displacement camp where they sought refuge from a wave of xenophobic violence that broke out in Durban. They came to South Africa from the Democratic Republic of Congo 14 years ago, fleeing the civil war that swept through the Bukavu region. Along with many others in the camp, they have little idea what their future holds. Their future is uncertain. Photo: Greg Lomas


Roger has lived in South Africa since 2001, after fleeing violence in the Bukavu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 31 March, as usual, he was selling jeans, shoes and leather jackets – “everything that goes on the human body” – in downtown Isipingo when he was attacked by a group of young men wielding pangas (machetes) and bottles. Everyone who saw him being attacked that day thought he had been killed.


Victoria Vemba, 41, sits on her bed in a displacement camp in Johannesburg. Xenophobic attacks flared up in Johannesburg after severe xenophobic violence in Durban.
Victoria fled her home in Makause when looting that started in Primrose in the afternoon escalated to attacks in peoples’ homes at night.  Victoria managed to bring her TB medication with her, but has been unable to get her ARV treatment. Victoria doesn’t want to return to Mozambique. She is eager to go back to Makause, and return to her life as a recycler. Photo: Taryn Arnott/MSF