FALSE: Kenyan not injured in South Africa xenophobic violence

In Summary

• According to the post, the man in the photo is Njoroge Gathiru from Muranga County, and he had apparently been brutalised, his wife raped and his children murdered in the ongoing attacks, in addition to having his mall looted.

• Contrary to what the post claims, the High Commission of Kenya in Pretoria issued a statement highlighting the potential dangers of false information about the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa currently in circulation.

Scrap metal collectors transport a shell of a burnt car after xenophobic attacks that took place earlier this week in Johannesburg, South Africa on September 5, 2019.
Scrap metal collectors transport a shell of a burnt car after xenophobic attacks that took place earlier this week in Johannesburg, South Africa on September 5, 2019.
Image: REUTERS

A Facebook post claiming to show a Kenyan who was attacked and who lost his family in the September 2019 xenophobic attacks in South Africa is FALSE.

According to the post, the man in the photo is Njoroge Gathiru from Muranga County, and he had apparently been brutalised, his wife raped and his children murdered in the ongoing attacks, in addition to having his mall looted.

The post also adds that Kenya’s foreign ministry has not issued a statement regarding the matter.

Misleading post
Misleading post

However, a reverse image search shows that the photo used in the post is actually of Zambian Member of Parliament, Charles Zulu. The image was shared on June 24, 2017, by Zambian Watchdog, an Online Investigative platform, and it shows MP Zulu injured after a clash between the supporters of two political parties — the United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Patriotic Front in Zambia.

Charles Zulu’s profile on the National Assembly of Zambia website
Charles Zulu’s profile on the National Assembly of Zambia website

The photo was also shared by The Mast on June 24, 2017 and the Zambian Observer on July 4, 2017.

Contrary to what the post claims, the High Commission of Kenya in Pretoria issued a statement highlighting the potential dangers of false information about the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa currently in circulation.

The High Commission has stated that some of the clips claiming to show the ongoing situation are likely to cause panic, but some of them are outdated, while others are not even from South Africa.

Statement by Kenya High Commission in South Africa
Statement by Kenya High Commission in South Africa

Statement from the Kenyan High Commission in South Africa

The High Commission has advised Kenyans to exercise caution and seek clarification before circulating any information on the attacks, and assuring Kenyans in South Africa that all measures were being put in place to ensure their safety and the protection of their property.

In a post shared on Twitter by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Monica Juma, regarding the attacks, two Kenyans have been affected and their property destroyed. This was corroborated by the Kenya Diaspora in South Africa (KEDASA) Association.

CS Juma added that the government was in touch with Kenya’s High Commission in South Africa, and was working to ensure the safety of Kenyans living there as well as their property.

The South African government has strongly condemned the ongoing xenophobic attacks, calling on security forces to arrest the perpetrators in a bid to curb the violence.

PesaCheck has looked into the claim that a photo shared on Facebook shows a Kenyan who was attacked in xenophobic violence in South Africa and finds it to be FALSE.


This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact-checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.

By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organisations like PesaCheck are helping to sort fact from fiction. We do this by giving the public deeper insight and context to posts they see in their social media feeds.

Have you spotted what you think is fake news or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here’s more information on PesaCheck’s methodology for fact-checking questionable content.

This fact-check was written by PesaCheck researcher Diana Kendi was edited by PesaCheck Deputy Editor Ann Ngengere and was approved for publication by PesaCheck Managing Editor Eric Mugendi.