Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomenewsPhoto shared by SA account promoting anti-foreigner content is from Georgia, not...

Photo shared by SA account promoting anti-foreigner content is from Georgia, not Zimbabwe


<span>Screenshot of the false post, taken on January 24, 2024 </span><span></div></div></div><div class=
Screenshot of the false post, taken on January 24, 2024

The account that shared the post is called “#PutSouthAfricansfirst” and regularly spreads anti-immigrant content, often targeting Zimbabweans.

The image included in the post shows a rusty train car spanning a river in a hilly landscape.

While some users admired the “innovation”, others posted derogatory comments about Zimbabwe.

“They all have to go back and be more Patriotic, Zimbabwe is a trash (sic),” reads one of the comments.

Similar posts were shared elsewhere on Facebook.

However, the claim that the photo shows a bus bridge in Zimbabwe is false.

Georgia, not Zimbabwe

Using a reverse image search,  AFP Fact Check found the same photo showing a train car recycled as a bridge on the travel site Tripadvisor.

A user shared the photo back in January 2020 (archived here).

<span>A comparison of screenshots from Tripadvisor and the false post, taken on January 24, 2024 </span><span><button class=

A comparison of screenshots from Tripadvisor and the false post, taken on January 24, 2024

The user tagged the photo’s location as “Akhalaqlaqi” in Georgia.

Using a keyword search, AFP Fact Check found a small town called Akhalkalaki in southern Georgia, close to the border with Armenia.

On the northern outskirts of town, there is a point of interest marked on Google Maps as a “wagon bridge.”

<span>A screenshot from Google Maps, taken on January 24, 2023 </span><span><button class=

A screenshot from Google Maps, taken on January 24, 2023

A January 2023 Google Street View image of the “wagon bridge” shows the same structure as in the false post.

Several visual clues, in addition to the train, confirm that the bridge seen in the false post is located in Akhalkalaki, Georgia – and not Zimbabwe.

The same geological features are visible behind the bridge.

A distinct structure is also visible in both images on the top left of the hill behind the bridge.

<span>A comparison between Google Street View and the photo used in the false post, taken on January 24, 2024 </span><span><button class=

A comparison between Google Street View and the photo used in the false post, taken on January 24, 2024

Anti-immigrant tension

South Africa – the continent’s most industrialised country – is facing a wave of undocumented migrants triggered by the economic woes of its neighbours (archived here).

Many come from Malawi, Lesotho, and even the Horn of Africa, but most are from Zimbabwe.

Foreign workers are often victims of anti-immigrant sentiment as they are seen to compete against locals for jobs, particularly in low-skilled sectors.

That sentiment has occasionally turned into lethal violence against foreign nationals living in the country (archived here).

Immigration will be a central issue as South Africans prepare to head to the polls later this year (archived here and here).

You will be able to follow our coverage of the election here.



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