African Journal of Social Work

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Citizenship alterities: the case of child birth registrations in the Tongogara refugee camp of Zimbabwe

Nolwazi Ncube, Tatenda Chimbwanda, Ncumisa Willie


This paper focused on the case of Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge,  Zimbabwe. It has used this fragile context to explore the citizenship  alterities of children born to asylum seekers and refugees who are  undocumented and/or stateless persons who reside in this refugee camp. In this specific context of fragility and forced displacement, these  undocumented children seemingly inhabit a ‘grey borderland’ that lies between sovereign states. Within this grey borderland, the status of asylum seekers, not of concern persons and refugees, and the protracted nature of their refugee experience produces generational (undocumented) refugees, which in effect renders them more susceptible to becoming stateless. The paper has pointed to the implications of these citizenship alterities and identified some of the policy and legislative gaps around the  documentation of migrant children born in Zimbabwe’s refugee camps. Finally, the conclusion outlined policy recommendations for the socio-economic inclusion of undocumented migrant children, refugee children, and children born to asylum seekers and refugees in Zimbabwe to address generational refugeeism and to prevent the proliferation of statelessness.

Key terms: children, citizenship alterities, fragility, refugee(ism),  statelessness, Zimbabwe, Tongogara Refugee Camp

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