n Journal of African Union Studies - Effects of cross-border migration on idealizations of Gauteng residents towards social cohesion and African continental integration

Volume 8 Number 3
  • ISSN : 2050-4292
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4306



Since the dawn of democracy, South Africa has grown to be an immigrant attracting nation. Due to the influx of African immigrants in South Africa, the country‘s communities have evolved into a heterogeneous society. Hence, some of the prominent existing empirical studies buttress that, the biological and cultural differences between South Africans and African immigrants often trigger xenophobia. As such, xenophobia has a propensity to affect perceptions of African immigrants and South Africans towards social cohesion and African continental integration, amidst the long-term objective of the African Union to establish the United States of Africa. Using qualitative research methods and in-depth interviews as a data collection technique, this paper examines the extent to which cross-border migration influences the social sentiments of South Africans and African immigrants on their idealizations of social cohesion and African continental integration. This paper reveals that, besides the general narrative that positive contact is a determinant of positive relations between diverse groups; positive "client-service provider relations" between South Africans and African immigrants inspires positive idealisations of social cohesion for these two groups. This negates the general narrative that contact between immigrants and host nations is inherently conflict-inducing. In addition, this paper asserts that negative contact between Department of Home Affairs (DHA), South African Police Service (SAPS) as well as Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) officials (who are South Africans) and African immigrants inspire negative idealisations of African continental integration.

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