IN MAY, angry mobs tore through the relatively peaceful streets of South African cities and villages, hunting down "foreigners." This outcry recalled the worst days of the anti-apartheid struggle that ended 14 years ago.

In a recent New Yorker story, Philip Gourevitch observed that this mob violence was a stark reminder that about five million of the 50 million people who live in South Africa are themselves migrants from elsewhere on the continent. They came in the years since apartheid, looking for a home and better life—seeking political refuge, economic opportunity, or both (June 9 & 16, 2008).

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August 25, 2008

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