n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - The mist that they declared to be over is still around : xenophobic experiences of refugee children living at a community centre in South Africa

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



There is a general misconception that xenophobia does not exist in South Africa anymore. This assertion is based on the views that the May 2008 brutal xenophobic attacks were concluded, and threats made against foreign nationals to leave or die in South Africa after the 2010 soccer world cup, did not materialise. The xenophobic assertion completely contrasts with views of abused refugee children living at a refugee centre in South Africa. This paper is a presentation of xenophobic related abuse of unaccompanied refugee children living at a community centre in South Africa. The study employed Bronfenbrenner's Social Ecological Model as its overarching theoretical framework. The study adopted a qualitative approach, case study design, and the interpretivist paradigm. Twelve unaccompanied refugee children were selected using purposive sampling and snowball sampling. Data collection tools used were semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Data was analysed using content analysis. The study found that there is a wide-spread trend of xenophobic related abuse of refugee children living in designated refugee facilities in South Africa. It was concluded that there is a huge disruption of the social ecological systems when they are run along the full gamut of refugee children's experiences.

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