Slideshow - Under Siege - Somali shopkeepers in South Africa

  • Abdul Abdullah, 27, is a refugee from Somalia. He arrived in South Africa nearly seven years ago, expecting a better, safer life

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070516110971/Abdul-Abdullah-27-is-a-refugee-from-Somalia-He-arrived-in-South-Africa-nearly-seven-years-ago
  • Abdullah opened a shop in Zandspruit, an informal settlement outside Johannesburg, in April 2012. Two months later, the shop was looted, and he lost everything

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070517320764/Abdullah-opened-a-shop-in-Zandspruit-an-informal-settlement-outside-Johannesburg-in-April-2012
  • Abdullah and his employees live in fear of further criminal or xenophobic attacks. One Somali dies from a gun injury every week in South Africa

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070521080965/Abdullah-and-his-employees-live-in-fear-of-further-criminal-or-xenophobic-attacks-One-Somali-dies
  • Zandspruit lacks tarred roads, electricity or running water. Like other residents, Abdullah must collect water from a communal tap

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070523170306/Zandspruit-lacks-tarred-roads-electricity-or-running-water-Like-other-residents-Abdullah-must
  • Abdullah’s shop does a brisk evening trade as local residents stop in on their way home from work to buy essentials

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070524410203/Abdullah-s-shop-does-a-brisk-evening-trade-as-local-residents-stop-in-on-their-way-home-from-work-to
  • A generator powers the lights in Abdullah’s shop while local vendors make do with candlelight. Such disparities have fuelled the resentment of local traders

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070527360797/A-generator-powers-the-lights-in-Abdullah-s-shop-while-local-vendors-make-do-with-candlelight-Such
  • Abdullah and his three employees share a small room at the back of the shop

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070529500770/Abdullah-and-his-three-employees-share-a-small-room-at-the-back-of-the-shop
  • After the shop closes, the men barricade themselves in their tiny living space, not venturing out until morning

    Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
    /photo/Details/201211070531590454/After-the-shop-closes-the-men-barricade-themselves-in-their-tiny-living-space-not-venturing-out

Under Siege - Somali shopkeepers in South Africa

NOVEMBER 2012 - A steady stream of Somali nationals have migrated to South Africa over the last two decades, most of them seeking refuge from the civil war in their country. Many support themselves by running small grocery stores, known as ‘spaza’ shops, in townships and informal settlements, where there is a demand for the convenience and reasonable prices they offer. But the Somalis’ status as foreigners leaves them vulnerable to violent crime and xenophobic attack.
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