Bloodied man from Zambia, not Kenyan victim of xenophobic attacks in South Africa

During a wave of xenophobic violence against foreigners in South Africa in early September 2019, a photo of a man with blood on his face and neck was posted on a popular Kenyan Facebook group page

The post, dated 4 September, claims he is a Kenyan man injured in the violence.

It reads: “Xenophobia in SA: Njoroge Gathiru from Murang’a brutalised, wife raped, children murdered, mall looted. Police in SA claims the attacks are justifiable. Kenya’s foreign ministry has not issued a statement.”

The post was shared on another Facebook page.

Photo from Zambia in 2017

But a reverse image search reveals that the photo first appeared online in 2017. It is not linked to the violence in South Africa.

According to a 24 June 2017 article by online news service Zambian Watchdog, the photo shows a man injured in a clash between rival political parties in Zambia.

“[Patriotic Front] cadres attacked mourners and some [United Party for National Development] members at the Memorial park, during the funeral procession of late UPND member, Clance Zulu,” the article reads.

Zambian police later issued a statement on the fight, published in the article. It identified four men who had sustained head injuries.

‘Sensational news should be shunned’

In response to a flood of false information on social media about the xenophobic attacks, the Kenya High Commission in South Africa issued a statement on 4 September 2019, saying its attention had been drawn to “fake news” about the violence. 

The commission urged Kenyans to exercise caution before sharing information, and seek clarification when in doubt. 

“These kind of sensational news should be shunned as they only cause panic among Kenyans and the public at large and do not help the situation at hand,” the commission said.

Kenya’s foreign affairs cabinet secretary Monica Juma tweeted on 4 September that two Kenyans were “affected” by the violence. – Dancan Bwire


For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.