Exclusion and Discrimination: Zimbabwean Migrant Children and South African Schools
- 603 Downloads
Post-2005 migration movements from Zimbabwe to South Africa have included a growing number of children. These children face considerable difficulties in accessing the South African educational system. School attendance rates are significantly lower amongst migrant than South African children. This paper is based on recent interviews with Zimbabwean parents and guardians in Cape Town and Johannesburg and shows the levels and types of discrimination they and their children face as well as their powerlessness to effect change. The exclusion of migrant children from education contravenes South Africa’s international human rights obligations as well as its own Bill of Rights and Department of Education directives. The Department of Home Affairs, however, makes schools sites for the enforcement of the draconian provisions of the 2002 Immigration Act. School authorities therefore operate with conflicting mandates. The evidence suggests that most prefer to side with the Department of Home Affairs and make their schools unwelcoming spaces for Zimbabwean children.
KeywordsMigration Xenophobia Education South Africa Zimbabwe
We wish to thank the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and the IDRC for funding the research on which this paper is based and the Zimbabwean students who assisted with the research.
- Adjai, C. (2010). The halo slips? Xenophobia and its consequences in the new South Africa. PhD Thesis. University of Leicester.Google Scholar
- Africa Union (2009). African charter on the rights and welfare of the child. http://www.africa-union.org/Official_documents/Treaties_%20Conventions_%20Protocols/A.%20C.%20ON%20THE%20RIGHT%20AND%20WELF%20OF%20CHILD.pdf. Accessed 21 Jan 2011.
- Barbali, S. (2009). Coping with xenophobia: Senegalese migrants in Port Elizabeth. MA Thesis. Rhodes University.Google Scholar
- Belvedere, F. (2010). National refugee baseline survey: final report. Pretoria, Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE).Google Scholar
- Children’s Bill Working Group (CBWG). (2004). Joint submission on the children’s bill to the portfolio committee on social development, Cape Town, July 2004. http://www.ci.org.za/depts/ci/plr/pdf/subs/jul04/cbill_working_group.pdf. Accessed 25 Jan 2011.
- Chireshe, R., & Shumba, A. (2011). Teaching as a profession in Zimbabwe: are teachers facing a motivation crisis? Journal of Social Science, 28, 113–118.Google Scholar
- Chisholm, L. (2005). The state of South Africa’s schools. In J. Lutchman, R. Southall, & J. Lutchman (Eds.), State of the nation: South Africa 2004–2005 (pp. 201–226). Pretoria: HSRC.Google Scholar
- Chivugare, B. (2011). Children crossing borders: an evaluation of state response to migrant unaccompanied minors at Musina-Beitbridge border post, South Africa. MA Thesis. University of Johannesburg.Google Scholar
- Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA). (2009). Protecting refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa. Johannesburg: CoRMSA.Google Scholar
- Crush, J., & McDonald, D. (Eds.). (2002). Transnationalism and new African immigration to South Africa. Toronto: Canadian Association of African Studies.Google Scholar
- Crush, J., & Tawodzera, G. (2011). Zimbabwean access to health services in South Africa. SAMP Migration Policy Series No. 54. Cape Town: SAMP.Google Scholar
- Crush, J., & Tevera, D. (Eds.). (2010). Zimbabwe’s exodus: crisis, migration, survival. Ottawa: IDRC.Google Scholar
- Crush, J., Chikanda, A., Tawodzera, G., & Tawodzera, G. (2012). The third wave: mixed migration from Zimbabwe to South Africa. SAMP Migration Policy Series No. 59. Cape Town: SAMP.Google Scholar
- Crush, J., et al. (2008). The perfect storm: the realities of xenophobia in contemporary South Africa. SAMP Migration Policy Series No. 50. Cape Town: SAMP.Google Scholar
- Fleisch, B., Shindler, J., & Perry, H. (2009). Children out of school: evidence from the community survey. In S. Pendlebury, L. Lake, & C. Smith (Eds.), South African child gauge 2008/2009 (pp. 41–45). Cape Town: UCT Children’s Institute.Google Scholar
- Fritsch, C., Johnson, E., & Juska, A. (2010). The plight of Zimbabwean unaccompanied refugee minors in South Africa: a call for comprehensive legislative action. Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, 38(4), 99–105.Google Scholar
- Government of South Africa (1996a). The national education policy Act, 1996. http://www.info.gov.za/acts/1996/a27-96.pdf. Accessed 3 March 2011.
- Government of South Africa (1996b). South African School’s Act, 1996. http://www.info.gov.za/acts/1996/a84-96.pdf. Accessed 3 March 2011.
- Government of South Africa (1998a). National Education Policy Act, 1996. Department of Education. http://www.polity.org.za/polity/govdocs/notices/1998/not98-2432.html. Accessed 3 March 2011.
- Government of South Africa (1998b). Refugees Act of 1998. http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/PDF/Acts/Refugees%20Act130.pdf. Accessed 21 Jan 2011.
- Government of South Africa (2002). Immigration Act 2002. Government Gazette. http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=68047. Accessed 21 Jan 2011.
- Government of South Africa (2006). Children’s Act 2005. Government Gazette. http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=67892. Accessed 22 Jan 2011.
- Government of South Africa (2009). Chapter 2—Bill of Rights. http://www.info.gov.za/documents/constitution/1996/96cons2.htm. Accessed 21 Jan 2011.
- Hall, K., & Giese, S. (2009). Addressing quality through school fees and school funding. In S. Pendlebury, L. Lake, & C. Smith (Eds.), South African child gauge 2008/2009 (pp. 35–40). Cape Town: UCT Children’s Institute.Google Scholar
- Hill, A. (2010). Youth attitudes to foreigners in South Africa: the impact of the post-apartheid education system. MSc Thesis. Oxford University.Google Scholar
- Hillier, L. (2007). Children on the move: protecting unaccompanied migrant children in South Africa and the region. London: A Report by Save the Children UK.Google Scholar
- Hunt, F. (2007). Policy in practice: teacher–student conflict in South African schools. In M. Dunne & F. Leach (Eds.), Education, conflict and reconciliation (pp. 155–168). Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- IRIN (2009). South Africa: School a refuge from xenophobia. IRIN 24 November. http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=87171. Accessed 2 May 2011.
- Jansen, J. (2001). Dealing with difference in South Africa: a critical review of literature and experiences on racism, prejudice and xenophobia in South African schools. Soul Buddyz Series No 2. Johannesburg: Soul City.Google Scholar
- Jansen, J. (2010). Zim can teach us a thing or two: that country’s schools work, its teachers really teach. Sunday Times, December.Google Scholar
- Jinnah, Z. (2010). Making home in a hostile land: understanding Somali identity, integration, livelihood and risks in Johannesburg. Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology, 1(1), 91–99.Google Scholar
- Lake, L., & Pendlebury, S. (2009). Children’s right to basic education. In S. Pendlebury, L. Lake, & C. Smith (Eds.), South African child gauge 2008/2009 (pp. 19–23). Cape Town: UCT Children’s Institute.Google Scholar
- Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) (2006). Submission to public hearings on the children’s amendment Bill. Gauteng. http://www.ci.org.za/depts/ci/plr/pdf/publichearings/gauteng/Submissions/LHRSubmissionOctober2006.pdf. Accessed 3 March 2011.
- Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and CoRMSA (2010). Joint submission to the portfolio committee on basic education on the difficulties faced by refugees, asylum seekers and other foreign migrant children in accessing education. Cape Town.Google Scholar
- Livesey, T. (2006). A survey on the extent of xenophobia towards refugee children. M. Diaconiology Thesis. UNISA.Google Scholar
- Lumadi, M. (2008). Teachers’ exodus in South African schools: a smoke with burning fire. Issues in Education Research, 1(3), 31–40.Google Scholar
- Machingambi, N., & Ralekwa, S. (2005). Children’s Bill: foreign children. Submission to National Council of Provinces, South African Parliament.Google Scholar
- Matereke, K. (2011). ‘Whipping into line’: the dual crisis of education and citizenship in postcolonial Zimbabwe. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(s2), 84–99.Google Scholar
- McNight, J. (2008). Through the fear: a study of xenophobia in South Africa’s refugee system. Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, 2(2), 18–42.Google Scholar
- Mda, T., & Mothata, M. (2000). Critical issues in South African education after 1994. Kenwyn: Juta.Google Scholar
- Milner, K., & Khoza, H. (2008). A comparison of teacher stress and school climate across schools with different matric success rates. South African Journal of Education, 28(1), 155–173.Google Scholar
- Motha, S. (2004). The right to education for asylum seekers, documented migrants, and refugees in South Africa. Quarterly Review of Education and Training in South Africa, 11(3), 27–30.Google Scholar
- Motha, S. (2005). The education rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in South Africa. Johannesburg: Education Rights Project, Wits Education Policy Unit.Google Scholar
- Motha, S., & Ramadiro, B. (2005). Education rights of migrants in the inner city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits Education Policy Unit and Khanya College.Google Scholar
- Neocosmos, M. (2010). From ‘foreign natives’ to ‘native foreigners’: explaining xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa. Senegal: CODESRIA.Google Scholar
- Nyamnjoh, F. (2006). Insiders and outsiders: citizenship and xenophobia in contemporary Southern Africa. London: Zed.Google Scholar
- Obser, K. (2010). Victims or villians? Deconstructing the policing of migrant children in South African border towns. MA Thesis. University of Witwatersrand.Google Scholar
- Osman, R. (2009). The phenomenon of xenophobia as experienced by immigrant learners in inner city schools of Johannesburg. M.Ed. Thesis. UNISA.Google Scholar
- Palmary, I. (2009). For better implementation of migrant children’s rights in South Africa. Report for UNICEF. Johannesburg: Forced Migration Studies Programme.Google Scholar
- Polzer, T. (2007). Education access for non-citizens in border areas. Discussion Brief for National Department of Education, Forced Migration Studies Program. Johannesburg: Wits University.Google Scholar
- Refugee Rights Project (RRP). (2006). Submission to the portfolio committee on social development (2007) on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B19B-2006]. Cape Town http://www.ci.org.za/depts/ci/plr/pdf/subs/aug07/UCT%20Law%20Clinic%20Submission%20on%20B19B-2006.pdf. Accessed 3 March 2011.
- Segatti, A., & Landau, L. (Eds.). (2011). Contemporary migration to South Africa: a regional development issue. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar
- Stone, L., & Winterstein, S. (2003). A right or a privilege? Access to basic education for refugee and asylum-seeker children in South Africa. Johannesburg: Report for National Consortium for Refugee Affairs.Google Scholar
- Timngum, D. (2001). Assisting urban refugee children in South Africa: humanitarian challenges to state and non-state actors. MA Thesis. Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand.Google Scholar
- Vally, S., & Dalamba, Y. (1999). Racism, ‘racial integration’ and desegregation in South African public secondary schools. Braamfontein: South African Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar