#BBCtrending: 'I stayed indoors for a week, it was too dangerous'

  • 12 March 2014
Godden Ndoro
Godden Ndoro - a Zimbabwean living in South Africa - was one of the hundreds of people who got in touch

On Tuesday, we reported on this blog about an online video showing police in South Africa stripping a man from Nigeria, handcuffing him, and beating him. There was a huge response to the story - including from many other African immigrants who told us about wider problems of racism in South Africa.

Our report led to hundreds of people contacting us using the BBC World Facebook and BBC Africa Facebook page, as well as to our BBC Trending Twitter account. One of those who got in touch was Godden Ndoro, a software development manager. He is married to a South African and has been living in the country since 2006 - but he's originally from Zimbabwe.

He says he found the video "disgusting", but that he's not surprised. "No-one has really had the courage, or the opportunity to get this on camera," he told BBC Trending. He says this explains why this video has now become such a big deal. "When it does get on camera, it goes viral," he says.

As a Zimbabwean living in South Africa, Ndoro says he has experienced lots of examples of racism himself. Police frequently ask for bribes, he says - especially when they find out you are not from South Africa. "It's become like a way of life - you have to walk around with a bit of cash on you."

He says his worst experience of xenophobia was the year after he arrived in South Africa, when there were a series of deadly attacks by mobs. "I remember not going out to work - public transport was not useable. I stayed indoors for about a week. It was too dangerous." Tensions were - and still are - high as some South Africans feel that foreigners are taking jobs and benefits. During a particularly nasty spell, Ndoro says, mobs were stopping people on the streets and asking them the Zulu word for "elbow" - as a way of trying to establish if they were South African or not. Those who could not answer were attacked, or even killed. But not all black South Africans speak Zulu, and some of those killed were actually South Africans, he says.

Many South Africans also got in touch. "On behalf of my country I sincerely apologise to my African brothers and sisters," wrote Lubabalo Mapipa.

Do you have a story you think we should cover on BBC Trending? Or a response to a story we've done? Let us know @BBCtrending, or trending@bbc.co.uk