In this paper we focus on the responses made by philanthropy/civil society towards the impact of xenophobic related violence and displacement in the Durban area. We seek to understand some of the ways in which philanthropy/civil society has responded to the xenophobic related violence, conflict and displacement in communities around Durban. We ask if philanthropy, in this context, is a capable, viable, and efficient strategy for social justice. We proceed from the assumption that philanthropy, in this case, embarked upon by various civil society organisations, has the potential to impact on long-term social change by contributing to structural change. We understand philanthropy differently from charity which centres on responding to merely the symptoms of a particular problem.