In March and April 2019 xenophobia in South Africa was again in the news with attacks on foreign nationals living in KwaZulu-Natal province. At least two people died and many migrants were left homeless.
Soon after, the known fake news site Zambian Observer published an article headlined “Malawian man turns his xenophobic attackers into snakes”. It shows a photo of a man dragging two large snakes down a dusty road.
“Two xenophobic attackers turn into snakes after they tried to burn a Malawian man’s house in Durban,” it says. “He’s now demanding R200,000 to change them back.”
Photo and video from Zimbabwe, not South Africa
But the photo and video are two years old, and taken in South Africa’s neighbour, Zimbabwe.
Headlined “Horror in Mabvuku”, it says a man was seen carrying two snakes in Mabvuku, a township east of Harare in Zimbabwe. It does not mention any people being turned into snakes.
Other photos in the article show cars with Zimbabwean registration plates. A Zimbabwean flag is hanging in one of the cars.
No evidence for made-up story
The evidence shows that the photo and video are of a man in Zimbabwe, not a Malawian migrant in South Africa. There is no evidence of xenophobic attackers being turned into snakes in Durban.
And any outrageous story published by the Zambian Observer needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
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