South Africa: Vulnerable and Traumatised – but Fearful Jeppestown Business Owners Rebuild

Some foreign business owners whose premises were looted in the violence that erupted in Jeppestown and surrounds in September are trying to rebuild, but say they are scared because they are still vulnerable.

An uneasy calm envelops Marshall Street in Jeppestown, Johannesburg. It’s been nearly a month since marauding mobs brandishing sticks and rocks attacked foreign-owned businesses in the area. Reminders of the attacks are ever-present – mangled metal shutters, broken windows and shattered glass litter the area. Where once thriving businesses operated, abandoned shells remain.

Marshall Street is one of the streets in Jeppestown along which almost every business was affected in the violence meted out on foreigners by South Africans who claim immigrants are responsible for their unemployment and crime in the country.

An abandoned business on Marshal Street in Jeppestown. (Photo: Bheki Simelane)

On Wednesday 23 October, Daily Maverick counted at least nine businesses that remained closed on the once bustling street.

Businesses owners who have returned have done so because packing up and leaving is not an option, with children being in school given as one of the reasons.

“It’s been quiet, but you know the story. You are not on the safe side. Any time…

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