One of the Nigerian returnees, Samson Aliyu, who is a cloth seller who lived in South Africa for two years,
“I ran for my life, they would have killed me.. They burnt my shop, everything,” ” Aliyu, told AFP news agency.
Also, Precious Mbabie, 35, who works as a fashion designer and seamstress in a Johannesburg suburb, was on the flight with her three children, leaving her husband behind.
She said: “We agreed that it is better I go back home with the children.
She and her family live in Rosettenville, one of the first areas to be affected by the violence.
“Where we are staying is very dangerous because of xenophobia. They say they don’t want any foreigners there,” she said.
Reports say that South African authorities frustrated the repatriation of the Nigerians, cutting the number of the returnees to 187 from over 300 which were initially expected.
Altogether 640 Nigerians registered intentions with the Nigerian consulate in South Africa to return to Nigeria.
A second flight is expected on Thursday or Friday.