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Immigration and Asylum in South Africa: Identifying New Policy and Advocacy Directions

17 May 2017

As you know, migrant rights are under threat globally: Donald Trump’s bans, the European Union’s adding bricks to its fortress, or Australia off-shoring asylum seekers. In South Africa, shifting policy directions and practices are threatening the rights and welfare of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants.  As civil society we have long – and unsuccessfully – struggled to ensure that every international migrant – regardless of legal status – is protected in South Africa. Heightening securitization, populism, and the forthcoming elections will only heighten our challenges. With support from the Open Society Foundation, the African Centre for Migration & Society hosted six dialogues in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg with the goal of developing novel and more effective strategies for promoting the rights and welfare of refugees, asylum seekers, international migrants and the often poor communities in which they live.  Many of you participated in one or more of those dialogues. We would like to invite you again for a workshop where we will present the results of our gatherings and deliberate on new ways forward.

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Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability

25 April 2017

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability presented by Didier Ruedin (University of Neuchâtel). While many countries across the world face increasing numbers of immigrants, the literature on attitudes to foreigners and immigrants focuses on Western countries. This paper tests broad insights from Western countries in a specific non-Western context; South Africa, a country marked by sporadic violence against some immigrant groups. Data from the 2013 South African Social Attitudes Survey and the 2013 World Value Survey are used to model attitudes to immigrants. In line with research on Western countries, individual personality is associated with differences in attitudes; people in vulnerable positions and those who lack a personal support mechanism are more likely to oppose immigrants. When implemented to reflect the specific context, research on attitudes to immigrants appears to generalize to non-Western contexts.

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‘Ghost Passports’: disembodiment, ethics of illegibility, and the negotiation of passage at the Beitbridge border of South Africa and Zimbabwe

21 April 2017

The African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a public seminar titled ‘Ghost Passports’: disembodiment, ethics of illegibility, and the negotiation of passage at the Beitbridge border of South Africa and Zimbabwe presented by Xolani Tshabalala (Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society, Linkoping University). ‘Ghost passports’ are passports whose holders enlist the services of third parties, such as private cross-border transporters – omalayitsha, and regular bus drivers, to take to the border post to get them ‘stamped’ on their behalf. Low- and semi-skilled Zimbabwean migrants seeking work and other opportunities in South Africa must contend with a migration regime that robustly restricts their movement into the country, although they do find opportunities for precarious, often undocumented, work within the country’s mining, agriculture, hospitality, domestic, informal and other sectors. For those without work permits, a regular feature of their continued stay and work in South Africa is to regularly travel to the country’s ports of entry, such as the Beitbridge border post, to negotiate more residence days on their passports.

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Academy for African Urban Diversity (AAUD)

Call for participants

The Academy for African Urban Diversity, a joint project of the African Center for Migration & Society at the University of Witwatersrand, the African Center for Cities at the University of Cape Town, and the Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity is inviting applications to participate in two intensive workshops. AAUD will bring together a cohort of 8-10 post-field work doctoral students exploring diversity in African cities to refine their research focus, promote professional development, and build trans-national scholarly communities. Half of each cohort will be reserved for scholars enrolled in doctoral programs at African Universities, while the other half is open to scholars of urban Africa based elsewhere. 

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The containment chronotrope: The European refugee 'crisis' and shifting sovereignties in sub-Saharan Africa

11 April 2017

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled The containment chronotrope: The European refugee ‘crisis’ and shifting sovereignties in sub-Saharan Africa presented by Loren Landau (South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Difference, African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand). Always uneasy with transformations engendered by human mobility from outside the wealthy (largely Christian) west, Europe’s current moral panic has generated unprecedented levels of interventions within Africa’s ostensibly sovereign territory. This paper considers how Europe’s defensive posturing and extra-territorialisation will reshape its relationship to Africa and Africans’ relations to each other and space. It argues that the billions of Euros dedicated to border control and the prevention of mobility within and out of African countries is generating a ‘containment chronotrope’. 

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