How Xenophobia Has Become Normalized in South African Politics

How Xenophobia Has Become Normalized in South African Politics
A man holds a poster reading “We stand against xenophobia” during a march in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 23, 2015 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric has steadily seeped into mainstream political discourse in South Africa, where immigration has long been a contentious issue as the country is a primary destination for migrants from across the African continent. In the general election earlier this month, both major political parties, the ruling African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance, advocated stricter controls on immigration. In an email interview with WPR, Loren B. Landau, a migration expert at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, discusses the deep roots of xenophobia in South Africa and the uncertain future facing immigrants there.

World Politics Review: How has South Africa generally approached its role as a continental migration hub in the post-apartheid era? What are the primary challenges facing immigrants there?

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