Who to Blame and What’s to Gain? Reflections on Space, State, and Violence in Kenya and South Africa

Loren B. Landau, Jean Pierre Misago


The ethnically and xenophobically motivated violence in Kenya and South Africa in the first half of 2008 has raised questions about its causes, the role of the state and the reality of current African societies. This article therefore analyses this violence, stating that although the violence in both countries had historical origins, there were also fundamental differences regarding the reasons for and the objectives of the violence. As a result, the less controlled violence in South Africa was somehow even more dangerous, because it contested state power itself.

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