Migration, Logics of Inclusion and Exclusion and Xenophobia: The Case of African Migrants in Post-apartheid South Africa

  • Inocent Moyo
  • Christopher Changwe Nshimbi
  • Trynos Gumbo
Part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series (AAESPD)


This contribution explores xenophobic tendencies in post-apartheid South Africa through historical sketches that revolve around debates of belonging, inclusion and exclusion. Such a historicity has created a legacy of suspicion and stigmatisation of migrants from within and without the country resulting in a fractured society with some implicit or explicit ‘othering’ on the basis of suspicion and fear. This has provided a template for exclusion of African migrants through promotion of indigeneity and/or reconfiguration of an exclusivist South African identity, which relegates migrants from other African countries to the subaltern, second and third classiness—a site for xenophobia. On the other hand, South African authorities are faced with a dilemma: they find it difficult to acknowledge the reality of xenophobic hostilities. Doing so would force them to accept that an underlying and continuing exclusivist narrative exists. If xenophobia contributes to the promotion of an exclusive South African identity, we question the approaches that have been adopted to try and resolve the xenophobic challenge and argue that the first real step towards dealing with xenophobia does not rest in denouncing it. Rather, the solution lies in engaging and investing in concerted efforts that ‘clean up’ the image of the African migrant.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inocent Moyo
    • 1
  • Christopher Changwe Nshimbi
    • 2
  • Trynos Gumbo
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ZululandKwaDlangezwaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Political SciencesGovInn, University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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