Zerihun Tabo, an Ethiopian shopkeeper, surveyed the wreckage of his neighborhood store in Johannesburg, South Africa, this week, after looters pillaged it.
"I can't even express what happened. It's so heavy. It's very difficult," he said.
Zerihun is one of dozens of victims of xenophobic attacks that have spread across the country in recent days, killing at least five and destroying the livelihoods of many more. In an interview with VOA's Amharic service, Zerihun pondered his future and that of other foreigners living in South Africa.
"I used to sell bottles in my store, but I have no hope in this country," he said, "after working hard and building something for so many years and losing it all at once. It's ugly."
FILE - A shopkeeper watches as a fireman douses down a burned and damaged property after overnight unrest and looting in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sept. 3, 2019.
Attacks against foreigners in South Africa are not new. According to the website Xenowatch, which tracks such incidents, more than 500 attacks occurred between 1994 and 2018. The attacks seem to spike periodically; more than 100 attacks in 2008 left more than 60 people dead, and more than 70 attacks occurred in 2015. This year is on track to be another violent one, with more than 40 incidents recorded. More than half of the incidents unfolded in Johannesburg, the country's largest city.