Shame lives with us

It is an unpalatable truth that last year's xenophobic violence, which claimed the lives of 60 people, caused untold harm to the image of this country.

Not surprisingly, most South Africans would rather wish away the blight caused by this embarrassing episode.

To avoid a repeat of the violence perpetrated mainly against African immigrants, South Africans should take heed of the findings of the study into the xenophobic violence commissioned by the International Organisation for Migration released this week.

The study has identified the real causes of the violence while discounting notions that it was masterminded by "a third force or faceless mobs".

Most illuminating is that the research found that political vacuum in the affected communities contributed to the emergence of leadership of questionable standing.

This is an indictment on organisations such as the South African National Civics Organisation, which claim to control what now appear to be phantom branches.

Most significant is that the study has galvanised South Africans to launch an ongoing campaign against xenophobia, tribalism and racism.

This is a noble effort that deserves the support of all who realise we cannot claim the African identity when we behave inhumanely against our own brothers and sisters from across the continent.