Determinants of immigrants’ feeling of sense of belonging in the midst of host hostility: The experience of second-generation Nigerian immigrants in Johannesburg

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Determinants of immigrants’ feeling of sense of belonging in the midst of host hostility: The experience of second-generation Nigerian immigrants in Johannesburg by Chioma Joyce Onukogu (African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand).

The assumption that immigrants will feel less sense of belonging in a host environment where they are not accepted, supported, integrated and welcomed is not out of place. However, an in-depth study of ten Nigerian second-generation children conducted in Johannesburg revealed the contrary. It was found that the children who reported experiences of discrimination, bullying, rejection and xenophobia from their peers at school and who experience discriminatory policies of the state towards them feel a sense of belonging in South Africa.  The seminar challenges conventional theories that link immigrants’ sense of belonging to the host country’s immigrant integration policies and welcoming attitudes towards immigrants.  It also rejects the notion that negative experiences reduce the feeling of sense of belonging in the host country. Looking at the overall migration context, the seminar shows that other hidden factors, such as agency, friendship networks, family and transnational networks, the church, diversity in school and membership in cultural associations, cushion the negative effects of hostility.


Dr. Chioma Joyce Onukogu obtained a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Sociology from University of Calabar, Nigeria. She was later employed as a lecturer at Imo State University, Owerri, where she also pioneered the establishment of the Psychology department of the university. She obtained a second Master’s degree in Development Studies from University of the Witwatersrand, and subsequently a PhD in Sociology from the University of Johannesburg in 2018. Dr. Chioma tutored at University of Johannesburg from 2014 – 2017. She has authored one book, co-authored two books, contributed book chapters and has presented papers in both national and international conferences. Dr. Chioma’s special research interest in second-generation children of African immigrants in South Africa led to her PhD thesis entitled “The Identity and Integration of Second-Generation Children of Nigerian Immigrants in Johannesburg.” The thesis is highly commended for its originality in the field of South African migration research.

Date: Tuesday 23 April 2019

Time: 12.45 -13.45

Venue: ACMS Seminar Room 2163, South East Wing, Second Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, University of the Witwatersrand East Campus