An exploratory study of the citizenship processes of immigrants to South Africa : a case study of Pakistanis in Durban.
Pillay, Natashya Kristanna.
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The number of Pakistani immigrants who are becoming citizens of South Africa is on the increase. This research was conducted with Pakistani citizens in Durban, South Africa, to examine the individual, social and political decision-making processes that resulted in their citizenship. The motivation for embarking on this study was to highlight the complexity involved in the process of contemplating and acquiring citizenship. In addition to this, local migration literature concentrates on African immigrants, thus this study on the citizenship processes of former Asian immigrants was necessary. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted with Pakistani citizens to determine their motivations to acquire citizenship and their experiences with local people and authorities. Pakistani citizens gained citizenship primarily for personal reasons. However, a range of contextual factors were also taken into consideration when deciding whether citizenship would be worthwhile. Social and political factors as well as the circumstances in the country of origin and the destination country were considered during the decision-making process. Durban was favoured as a city to settle in as Pakistani citizens believed it had a multitude of opportunities in comparison with other locations in South Africa. Furthermore, locals have embraced them and this has allowed them to assimilate into local society relatively easily. Pakistani citizens participate politically and make efforts to redress social inequalities; furthermore they are skilled professionals who have honest intentions. Thus they would like locals to abandon the negative preconceptions they hold towards foreigners.