CapeTalk Celebrating 20 years
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2008: Regan Thaw recalls the xenophobic attacks in Dunoon

This October, CapeTalk is celebrating its 20th birthday by reliving some of the most impactful stories of the past twenty years, as told by some of our favourite personalities. Click here to view the rest of the stories.

In 2008, incidents of xenophobic violence flared up across South Africa, displacing 100 000 people and leaving over sixty dead.

Regan Thaw was in Dunoon on assignment for Eyewitness News when violence and looting broke out in the area. He recounted his experience on the Breakfast Show with Kieno Kammies, recalling that on that day, community members had been promised a meeting with national government.

They'd waited and waited and, as we've become accustomed to, the leaders from government didn't show up.

Regan Thaw, EWN Desk Editor

After a long day on a sports field in Dunoon, Thaw packed up and headed home along Koeberg Road. About five minutes after he left, he told Kammies, he saw a police Nyala "barelling down" Koeberg Road, heading towards Dunoon.

My stomach kicked in and it said 'Something's not right'.

Regan Thaw, EWN Desk Editor
UNHCR tents at a refugee camp following episodes of xenophobic violence and rioting in 2008.

Thaw turned his car around and headed back to Dunoon, where multiple hotspots had flared up and barricades had been erected.

One thing that struck me... Was having to cower behind a police Nyala because we came under attack - bottles and a few petrol bombs were thrown, and I'm walking behind the Nyala doing a live crossing.

Regan Thaw, EWN Desk Editor

Thaw recalled a South African shop owner, who had been the victim of looting, hitting a looter in the head with a plank while police held him.

The police officer just looked at him and moved on.

Regan Thaw, EWN Desk Editor

We're talking neighbours turning on neighbours.

Regan Thaw, EWN Desk Editor

Watch as Regan Thaw recounts his experience of the 2008 xenophobic violence.


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