PHOTO ESSAY

Aftermath of the Alex Attacks

By Aisha Abdool Karim and Chanel Retief 6 September 2019

Shops at the Pan Africa shopping centre in Alexandra, Johannesburg, were looted on 3 September 2019. This was part of the xenophobic violence and attacks on foreign national store owners that started in Jeppestown on 1 September 2019. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim

After the initial xenophobic attacks and looting in Jeppestown started on Sunday 1 September, the violence spread to other parts of Johannesburg. Shop owners in Alexandra, who both foreign nationals and South African, were attacked on Tuesday 3 September.

The Pan Africa shopping centre, in Alexandra, was set alight by arsonists after the stores had been looted. Police reported that two burnt bodies were found in one of the stores.

An empty rubber bullet case found on the scene of the looting and arson attacks that occured on 3 September 2019 in Alexandra, Gauteng. Police had fired rubber bullets at looters in the area the previous day. Photo: Chanel Retief
Some Alexandra residents collect what is left of migrant-owned stores near Pan Africa Supermarket in Alexandra, Gauteng on 5 September. This follows after looters and arsonist targeted migrant-rich businesses in parts of Gauteng from the 3 September-5 September 2019. Photo: Chanel Retief
Residents of Alexandra began tearing down the infrastructure of stores at the Pan Africa shopping centre in order to collect materials and scraps of metal to resell. The stores were looted, and some set alight on 3 September 2019. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim
Some Alexandra residents collect what is left of migrant-owned stores near Pan Africa Supermarket in Alexandra, Gauteng on 5 September. This after looters and arsonists targeted migrant-rich businesses in parts of Gauteng from the 3 September-5 September 2019. Photo: Chanel Retief
Stores at the Pan Africa shopping centre were looted on 3 September 2019. Some shops have been abandoned by their owners as residents continue to return to collect metal scraps from the building remnants. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim
After the attack on migrant-owned stores in Alexandra, near Pan Africa Freedom Supermarket, many people took advantage of the attack by stealing some of the goods and taking apart the infrastructure for parts to sell. Photo: Chanel Retief
A liquor shop near Pan Africa Supermarket in Alexandra, Gauteng, also fell victim to the violent attack on 3 September 2019. Residents in the area took advantage and stole most of the beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), computers and other things found in the shop. Photo: Chanel Retief
Residents of Alexandra, Johannesburg, returned to the remnants of the Pan Africa shopping centre on 5 September 2019 to collect scraps of metal left in the burnt shops to sell. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim
The shops at the Pan Africa shopping centre in Alexandra, Johannesburg were looted on 3 September 2019 and subsequently set alight. Some residents walk through the burnt remains of these stores looking for scraps of metal. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim
Residents of Alexandra collect and carry metal scraps from what remains of the stores at the Pan Africa shopping centre. The centre was looted and set alight as part of a series of xenophobic violence in Johannesburg beginning on 1 September 2019. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim
Alexandra residents collect what is left of migrant-owned stores near Pan Africa Supermarket in Alexandra, Gauteng on 5 September.  Photo: Chanel Retief
Police reported that two burnt bodies had been found inside the remnants of the Pan Africa shopping centre in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Despite the bodies not yet being removed, residents of Alexandra continued to collect scraps of metal from inside the store, while police looked on. Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim
Police confirmed on 4 September 2019 that two burnt bodies were discovered inside this shop in Alexandra. JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said the bodies were ‘burnt beyond recognition’. Photo: Chanel Retief

In the aftermath on Thursday 5 September, while some of the shopkeepers tried to revive what was left of their stores, scrapyard collectors tore down other stores’ infrastructure for parts and pieces of metal that could be sold. DM

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