Some of the returnees who spoke to journalist upon their arrival condemned the ongoing attack on foreigners by the people of South Africa. A private airline volunteered to airlift the fleeing nationals.
Precious Oluchi Mbabie, a 35-year-old Nigerian woman who has been working as a fashion designer and seamstress in a Johannesburg suburb, boarded the flight with her three children, leaving her husband behind.
The violent attacks began in Tshwane after a taxi driver, Jabu Baloyi, was allegedly shot and killed by a Nigerian national.
"Where we are staying is very risky because of xenophobia", she said.
Elsewhere, outgoing Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi warned members of Parliament that the world was judging South Africa harshly for the continuing attacks on foreign nationals across the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo said government now does not have exact figures of Zimbabweans in South Africa and will be concentrating efforts on the 171 who have come forward.
The first batch of 84 Nigerians evacuated from South Africa arrived Nigeria on Wednesday, September 11 at 2.p.m. local time via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, in the company of officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. South Africa temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria last week, citing concerns over staff safety.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also on Monday ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians who had indicated interest to leave South Africa after receiving report from the Special Envoy deployed to the country.
It was not immediately clear how many people boarded the flight, but Nigeria's government said it estimated 313 people were on their way home. His shop was looted in last week's violence. "I left the business with my brothers.
South Africa is bent on frustrating us", the airline source said. "Maybe I will migrate back when the situation is better".