Wits international students have been afraid to attend lectures and even leave their residences this week due to fear of xenophobic attacks.

One African-American student who lives at a residence on main campus she has been terrified of leaving the university ground.

“I stayed in my room the whole weekend until Monday,” she said.

Although no mass violence has broken out in Braamfontein, many foreign students have said they are afraid of walking the streets.

“Particularly students travelling from Kempton Park and Germiston.”

A Congolese student, who did not want to be named, told Wits Vuvuzela that he pretended to be sick and stayed home for the week.

“Luckily, the vice chancellor made a call that students can and should be excused for leaving lectures early, coming late and for missing class [due to xenophobia],” the student said.

The Congolese student stays in Kensington and uses taxis to commute to Wits. He did not want to go to Noord taxi rank or any place where there were groups of people.

“I was scared that they’d just attack me,” he said.

Wits Vuvuzela reported earlier this week on an attack on a Zimbabwean Wits PhD student who was brutally assaulted and robbed in a taxi on the way to Cresta Mall.

“There have not been any other attacks on Wits students but foreign members of the Wits community are scared,” said president of the Congolese Student Society Cedrick Tshizainga.

“Particularly students travelling from Kempton Park and Germiston.”

A University of Johannesburg lecturer, who’s a Zimbabwean national, was also allegedly attacked last Monday at his home in Mondeor. He has since fled to Zimbabwe with his wife and children.

Since the beginning of this month, violence against foreign nationals has left seven people dead and thousands more displaced to refugee camps. The psychological effects of the threat of violence seems to be permeating deeper than the literal physical violence.

According to IOL, many immigrants say they feel safer in refugee camps the website reported.

AGAINST XENOPHOBIA: Wits students protest against xenophobia at the 'Peoples march' on Thursday. Photo: Reuven Blignault

AGAINST XENOPHOBIA: Wits students protest against xenophobia at the ‘Peoples march’ on Thursday. Photo: Reuven Blignault