The dialectics of nation building and immigration practices in South Africa 1994-2008.
Mambi, Yolokazi Z. M.
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Post 1994 South Africa has experienced outbursts of xenophobic violence. These incidences of xenophobic violence beckons one to delve deeper and search for explanatory causes of such inhumane sentiments and actions. While there is abundant research on xenophobia, few studies, in this quest, have interrogated the nature of the post-colonial state. Premising itself on Frantz Fanon’s humanist project, this study examines the nation-building practices and ideology of the South African state from 1994 – 2008. With an interest in grasping the dialectic of immigration and nation building, this research questions the nation building practices and discourses of two former Presidents, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. This is a desktop study that relies on secondary and primary data sources. The secondary sources include literature on nation, nation-state and nation-building. The primary sources include the writings and speeches of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. This research uses discourse analysis to analyse its data. For Mandela, nation-building is written as having and therefore reduced to service provisioning. The latter thus provides the basis through which African nationals are excluded in South Africa. Whilst Mbeki’s analysis provides an Africanist perspective on nation-building, the immigration policies and laws continue to be based on excluding African nationals. Since the postcolonial situation continues to abhor that which is black, Fanon (1961) positions nation-building as a means through which concepts may used to progress the human condition.