Entrepreneurship education as a panacea to redressing xenophobic attacks in South Africa: a focus on small and medium enterprises

26 Jun 2017

A democratic South Africa has witnessed recurrent xenophobic attacks in recent years, especially during 2008 and 2015. Most of the attacks involved native people looting the goods of immigrant businesses, impacting negatively on South Africa’s economic growth through the effects on the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It has been established that foreign-owned SMEs provide livelihoods for the majority of people in South Africa’s poor settlements. Ironically, there is a claim that xenophobic attacks are perpetrated due to frustration among the native SME owners who are unable to compete with the foreign-owned counterparts. Hence, a public rhetoric has been created to suggest that native SME owners blame foreigners for taking all the business opportunities and markets. Given this strife, this paper endorses entrepreneurship education as a possible antidote. SMEs do play a crucial role in the development of local economies; and, this paper investigates the role of entrepreneurship education as a panacea to redressing xenophobic attacks. Entrepreneurship education raise peoples’ awareness of self-employment as a career opportunity, promotes the development of personal qualities that are relevant to entrepreneurship such as creativity, risk taking, and responsibility, and provides the technical and business skills that are needed in order to start and grow a business venture. Furthermore, entrepreneurship education helps to transmit and impart entrepreneurial competencies and concepts required to start and run a successful venture. The article proposes that entrepreneurship education should be introduced as part of the school curriculum from primary school to university level in order to equip learners with entrepreneurial thinking as a lifelong phenomenon.