Grappling with South Africa’s xenophobic demons through the death of 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori
NEW PODCAST INVESTIGATES VIOLENCE, XENOPHOBIA, AND CORRUPTION IN SOUTH AFRICA’S TOWNSHIPS IN ONE NIGHT IN SNAKE PARK
Sound Africa has launched a new six-part narrative podcast, One Night in Snake Park, exploring violence, immigration, and the politics of South Africa’s townships.
In 2015, 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori was killed in Snake Park, Soweto by a foreign shopkeeper. His death made international headlines and sparked renewed xenophobic violence across the country’s black townships. But by the end of that year, his name was all but forgotten.
In recent weeks, South Africa’s xenophobic violence and its accompanying rhetoric on and offline reached fever pitch. From the Sunday Independent’s controversial headline “South Africa Under Foreign Control” and the #PutSouthAfricaFirst social media campaigns calling for South Africa to close its borders and remove foreigners from the country.
Yet, this rhetoric is not new. Nor are the attacks. But focusing on immigrants alone ignores what is really at stake. This is a story about South African townships: about hope and aspiration; about promises broken; about people frightened of those meant to guide and protect them. This is a story about South Africa’s transformation. About its future.
Building on I Want to Go Home Forever, a collection of oral histories of violence in South African townships, researcher Eliot Moleba and journalists Rasmus Bitsch and Tanya Pampalone, return to Snake Park to find what really happened the day Siphiwe Mahori died. Each 30-minute episode explores aspects of his life and the world in which he lived: urbanisation, xenophobia, the justice system, and the value of black lives in contemporary South Africa.
Filled with voices and sounds from across the township, this cutting-edge investigation speaks to a cast of rarely explored characters and processes. Guaranteed to unsettle your presumptions about violence, the township economies, trade, immigration, and inequality, it is a must-listen for anyone invested in South Africa’s future.
One Night in Snake Park is supported by the Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism grant. This collaboration is brought to you by Sound Africa; a non-profit podcasting organization based in South Africa.
For more information and interviews
Contact: Jedi Ramalapa
Email: Tanya Pampalone
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