‘Prophets of doom’ warned of more xenophobic attacks in South Africa; sadly they were right

Jean Pierre Misago's keynote address from the event hosted at Wits by the Mail & Guardian Africa and ACMS on Tuesday 3 March 2015

Here is Jean Pierre Misago's keynote address from the event hosted at Wits by the Mail & Guardian Africa and ACMS on Tuesday 3 March 2015 published on the M&G Africa news website:

‘Prophets of doom’ warned of more xenophobic attacks in S. Africa; sadly they were right

VIOLENT attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa in May 2008 were followed by public and official condemnation and promises of “never-again”.

Realising that these pronouncements were not followed by concrete preventive measures, our research evidence suggested such violence was likely to reoccur. We, together with those who shared our predictions, were branded “prophets of doom”, hell-bent on tarnishing the image of the beautiful rainbow nation. How we wished our predictions were false!

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Joint seminar exploring urban violence and the foreigner in South Africa

Tues 10 Mar - 3 pm - presented by ACMS and the Sociology Department

The African Centre for Migration & Society and the Sociology Department will present a joint seminar exploring urban violence and the foreigner in South Africa.  Given recent events in Soweto and other parts of Gauteng this seminar seeks to explore and unpack some of the ideas and common perceptions held around violence against non-nationals and those seen as the "other" in South Africa. Drawing on research carried out after the wave of xenophobic attacks in 2008 as well as more recent work, the three speakers will offer their views on urban violence and the idea of 'the foreigner' in what promises to be a fascinating and timely discussion.


'Xenophobic Violence in South Africa: Critical Reflections on Current Explanations' by Jean Pierre Misago, ACMS 

'Property, Freedom and the Foreigner' by Eric Worby, Humanities Graduate Centre 

'From Social Cohesion to Recognition? Confronting Ethno-national Diversity in Johannesburg’ bObvious Katsaura, Sociology Department


Venue: Humanities Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering Building, Braamfontein East Campus

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What’s HIV got to do with it?: Cross-border migrants accessing health services

Tuesday 17 March 2015

The African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a one-day symposium on "Whats HIV got to do with it?: Cross-border migrants accessing health services" to be held at the School of Public Health, at the University of the Western Cape on Tuesday, 17 March 2015.

The draft programme can be found here.

While there is no fee payable, please register by completing the registration form and returning it to by Wednesday,  25 February 2015.

For further information, please contact

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Panel discussion on recent wave of xenophobic violence in SA

Tues 3 Mar 2015 - 6 pm for 6.30 pm @Wits University

Join the Mail & Guardian Africa and the African Centre for Migration & Society at Wits as we interrogate issues related to the latest wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa. The debate will unpack the issues and seek to find long-term solutions to the continuing rise of antipathy towards foreign nationals that threaten tolerance and peace within the Africa-rising narrative.

Speakers include Jean Pierre Misago (ACMS), Tina Ghelli (UNHCR), Marc Gbaffou (African Diaspora Forum) and Andries Viviers (UNICEF).

Date: Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Time: 18:00 for 18:30
Venue: Senate Room, 2nd Floor, Senate House

Entrance and parking in the Senate House Basement off Jorissen Street


Other partners on the event are IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF and African Diaspora Forum

Photo acknowledgement: The Daily Maverick

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'Johannesburg is the New York City of the African Continent': Frontier Migration and the American Dream in South Africa

Lunch time seminar Wednesday 4 March 2015 12.30 pm in CB 107, Central Block, Wits East Campus

ACMS will present a lunch time seminar.  Dr Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in the International Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, will present on " 'Johannesburg is the New York City of the African Continent': Frontier Migration and the American Dream in South Africa”

 Dr Myambo defines frontier migration as migration from a more developed  economy to a developing economy.  It is a concept she is trying to develop to theorise highly-skilled migration in a global economy characterised by extremes of uneven development.  This paper draws on findings from semi-structured interviews with about 35 frontier migrants toanalyze why they have left North America, the EU and the UK for a globalising post-1990 South Africa. This data forms part of her manuscript-in-progress entitled "The American Dream Abroad: Privileged Migrants in the Global South Africa" which examines the relationship between frontier migration, cultural globalisation and political economy.  Ultimately, this is an inquiry into what conditions make the American Dream possible beyond the continental US. 

For more information, please email

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Launch of the Volume 44 Exhibition at the SA Human Rights Commission

Friday 20 Feb 2015 at 12 noon

Venue:  4th Floor, Main Boardroom, South African Human Rights Commission (Forum 3 office block, Braampark, 33 Hoofd Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg)  

Volume 44 is a participatory photography project of the African Centre for Migration & Society, based at the University of Witwatersrand                                                  

Since 2006, the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand has explored the use of creative methodologies with more traditional qualitative research methods in social science research. These projects, jointly titled Volume 44, engage in the co-production of knowledge through the development of partnerships with migrant groups. A central focus is the involvement of under-represented migrant groups that face multiple vulnerabilities to collectively develop methods that ensure that their voices are heard and seen. To date, projects have been conducted with migrant men, women and transgender persons engaged in the sex industry, informal settlement residents, inner-city migrants and hostel residents. These projects have culminated in a range of research and advocacy outputs, including community-based exhibitions, public exhibitions, engagement with officials and outreach into multi-media forums.

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A colloquium on the Idea of Home

18 – 20 February 2015

Hosted by the School of Human & Community Development and the African Centre for Migration & Society

This colloquium interrogates the idea of home by shifting between levels of analysis in which ‘home’ is understood both as the ‘private’ site of the family and as the public domain of national, cultural and geographical connectedness which is construed as similarly familial. ‘Home’ is associated with affective notions of love and care, and an embodied sense of comfort and familiarity. However, at both levels, the notion of home is always shot through with gendered, raced and classed assumptions.  Exploring the idea of home provokes us to reconsider childhood, gender relations, migration, nation, family.

Information about the colloquium panel and public lectures can be found in the programme.


 * Photo acknowledgement: Rob White
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Differentiated citizenship: Governing populations beyond state territorial borders

The Centre for Women’s and Gender Research (SKOK), University of Bergen, Norway, in collaboration with ACMS, is currently hosting a two-day closed workshop on 4-5 February 2015, at Wits

Differentiated citizenship: Governing populations beyond state territorial borders 

This closed workshop will discuss how differentiated citizenship is played out in specific geo-political contexts, with a special focus on the dynamics between the global North and the global South. It will focus on how economic, political and cultural processes of globalisation have blurred national boundaries in ways that challenge state sovereignty and universal citizenship models. Among other things, it will draw attention to the ways in which nation states are responding to globalisation through rigid migration politics, stricter border control and extensive policies of securitization, while at the same time safeguarding the circulation of people, goods and services in a global market.

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Equal Airtime Exhibition Musina

Come and listen to our stories

10 December, 10:30

Musina Municipality Building in Nancefield

Why is the Exhibition being held on December 10th?

The event is in lieu of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This day was created in to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the world and we have put a special programme together to commemorate this important day.

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Migrations of Knowledge

An international conference hosted by Carl Van Ossietzky University, Oldenburg

3-6 December, 2014

ACMS will be co-hosting the Migrations of Knowledge conference in Germany. The conference will address current conditions and modes of academic knowledge production. It will revisit the ethical, political and social visions of research and higher education articulated in the second half of the 20th century at European and African universities. Researchers will scrutinise the academic discourses on the geopolitics of knowledge, gender and ethnicity, critical dialogues between the social, cultural and engineering sciences as well as the differences of and interactions between epistemologies in the Global North and the Global South.

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