The Impact Of The African Union On Xenophobia In The Federal Republic Of South African

Project and Seminar Material Under International Law and Diplomacy

The Impact Of The African Union On Xenophobia In The Federal Republic Of South African


The study examines the impact of the African Union on xenophobia in Federal Republic of South African

The study adopted qualitative method. It uses content/document analysis which are textbooks, print media, journals, articles, write-ups, internet based materials, and class notes.

The study reveals that: Xenophobic violence against foreign nationals and ethnic minorities is a symptom of broader challenges of legitimate and accountable local governance, especially in informal settlements. Xenophobia has risen to become a global epidemic. African Union and fellow aid agencies rose against the vice of xenophobia and addressed the various constraints that came with the crisis as well as their efforts to flatten the impact of xenophobia. African Union has worked day in and day out with numerous resources and knowledge to ensure the proper mitigation and management of the xenophobia crisis.

The study concluded that African Union has a significant impact on xenophobia in the Federal Republic of South Africa. The study further recommends that: South African government should engage in providing citizens with vicarious knowledge of migrants, xenophobia and its effects through the media. South African government and other African states should abolish Cultural disparity in Africa. Restructuring by the South African authorities by using the causes of xenophobia to counter the effects by offering the amenities and opportunities that the migrants see as pull factors to come and settle in South Africa. African Union should put in place more rigid and stricter measures in place. Regional groupings such as SADC and African Union should aid in disseminating messages of tolerance and compromise. South Africa government should intensify the education of their citizens on the importance of compromise and tolerance especially by highlighting some of the contributions that foreigners bring into the country. South African government should adopt a shift in their foreign policy.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Since South Africa’s independence in 1994, xenophobia has grown along with the rising number of foreigners coming into the country. According to (Misago 2015), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognizes that xenophobia’s various manifestations represent protection threats to its persons of concern which include refugees, stateless persons, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons.

Despite the different explanations of xenophobia, it is understood as a violation of human dignity and human rights in keeping with Article 26 of 1998 of the United Nations (UN), which declares racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia as human rights violations a societal issue, numerous studies have established that xenophobia is deep-rooted in many sectors of the South African society, including government, media and financial organizations (Vale 2002) rightly assert that political xenophobic arrogance and attacks against foreigners are based and rooted in the politics that marked the apartheid and post-apartheid leadership and influenced public policy toward African foreigners that filtered in post-apartheid South Africa.

Expressions of xenophobia range from prejudiced attitudes and remarks to institutional or social segregation, harassment, and blatant forms of interpersonal and collective violence. In South Africa, xenophobic practices continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of persons of concerns while generating enduring fear and insecurity. Foreigners in South Africa have been harassed, attacked and even killed. The attitudes towards immigrants held by sections of the South African population have become more hostile. The attitude of hatred towards foreigners is especially held against people coming from other African countries. This adversely affects the quality of asylum and directly works against local integration as a form of protection or as a durable solution. In South Africa, xenophobic practices continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of foreign nationals while generating enduring fear and insecurity.

Because of her economic potential, South Africa, in the past years, has attracted and continues to attract foreign nationals who come in as tourist visitors, business persons and students. According to the Tourism and Migration January 2015 release of Statistics South Africa majority of tourists (94.1%)] were in South Africa for holiday purposes with only 37,885 (4.3%) of Tourists came in for business and study purposes, respectively. While xenophobia is generally accepted as the fear or dislike of foreigners, this social phenomenon has received so much attention worldwide. While foreign nationals are the targets of xenophobic attacks, some nationals get caught in the crossfire, as was the case of past xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa.

Xenophobia in its broad sense covers far more than a fear of another national in another country, it includes recognizing the fact that humans should co-exist among one another and foster peace, good health, quality bilateral and multilateral relations, industrial innovation, justice and creating the necessary grounds to fulfil state relation capabilities. Dangers of xenophobia could be economical, environmental and political. The issue of xenophobia in south Africa gives rise to other social problems such as chaos and violence. Xenophobia poses a serious threat to the international image of South Africa

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Xenophobia has resulted in the attacks on foreign national’s resident in South Africa by the citizens of South Africa. Evidence of these attacks has been posted and circulated in the international system through social media.

The major problem is that despite the fact that some evidence of pictures and videos posted on social media platforms have shown how migrants suffered physical assaults during xenophobic attacks in South Africa which has led to loss of lives and economic value as well as causing chaos among citizens and destruction of properties.

Another problem is that xenophobic attacks cause pain and depression to the survivors in that they’ve lost loved ones as a result of riots and social conflicts. The attacks are expensive in that they erode the material gains that might have been acquired by the survivors prior to the violence. On the part of the state, the attacks forced the government of South Africa to spend money to quell the violence and to provide relief and compensation for the survivors.

Also, xenophobic attacks in South Africa destroy trust, fuel cold wars, and can become the root cause of criminality on both the survivors and the perpetrators in South Africa. Xenophobia puts a bad image of South Africa around the world as a result of the violence and epic chaos and scare away potential tourists and investors. The attacks put pressure on the judicial system who suddenly find themselves with an enlarged list of cases to be tried and issues to be resolved.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the impact of the African Union in solving xenophobia: a case study of South Africa. In order to achieve the main objective, there is a necessity to develop specific objectives which have been streamlined into four namely to:

  1. Discuss the nature of Xenophobia
  2. Examine the impact of xenophobia in South Africa
  3. Address the causes and Consequences of xenophobic crisis in South Africa
  4. Determine the roles of African Union on xenophobia in the federal republic of South Africa

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions have been formulated to guide this study:

  1. What is the nature of Xenophobia?
  2. What are the impacts of Xenophobia in South Africa?
  3. What are the causes and consequences of xenophobic crisis in South Africa?
  4. What are the roles of African Union in solving xenophobic crisis in South Africa?

1.5 Scope of the Study

Xenophobia has become a global issue in contemporary times. This study uses the federal republic of south Africa as a case study in relation to the role of African Union in solving xenophobia. Due to limited resources which serve in the question of time and funds, these limitation factors will greatly be managed to make the research work more objective in its presentation.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will provide basic understanding of the role of the African union in solving xenophobia in South Africa. This investigation is beneficial to various government decision makers and stakeholders as they make policies governing the management of relationships between foreign nationals and host countries citizens.

Furthermore, the findings from the study will also help to strengthen and inform other nations on the importance of managing migration of their citizens to foreign countries, considering the experiences they may encounter in foreign lands. Again, the study will help future researchers who are likely to undertake research in diplomatic relations between various countries and migration dynamics between citizens of different countries.

1.7 Methodology

This research is widely qualitative. Date will be generated from secondary sources also known as qualitative data for knowledge and analysis such as; articles, journals, books, publishes and also online materials will be used to obtain a wide range of necessary information for this research paper.

1.8 Definition of Terms


Xenophobia is the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries. Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an in-group towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.

Xenophobic Crisis:

This can be described as immigrants from elsewhere facing discrimination and even violence in South Africa and attacks motivated by xenophobia. Xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens.


Afrophobia is a manifestation of distrust and envy towards black foreigners, seen as a threat because they are able to “slip undetected into the black community and thus potentially steal the jobs and women of the indigenous black South African men.

1.9 Chapterization

Chapter one focuses on the background of the study which gives an introduction of the major concepts in relation to the study of Xenophobia, furthermore it brings out the problem within which the study tends to solve. This chapter also outlines the broad and specific objectives of which the research questions were generated. In addition, chapter one states out the significance within the study.

Chapter two provides a general overview on xenophobia. It goes further to examine the concept and effect of xenophobia alongside the laws and principles put in place to deal with xenophobia. The isolation theory and integrated threat theory were also adopted in chapter two to address certain issues in relation to the research topic.

Chapter three adequately examines Xenophobia in South Africa the causes, cases and consequences of the xenophobia crisis in South Africa.

Chapter four discusses the curbing of the xenophobia crisis through the role and efforts of the African Union which consists of the various policies which the organization has established and the conferences held to bring a stop to xenophobia.

Chapter five provides a detailed summary, conclusion and recommendations for which this study intends to contribute to the existing pool of knowledge.

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