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Contextualizing dyadic ties, social capital and <i>Ubuntu</i> as instruments for migrants integration in South Africa

Efe Mary Isike


Various studies have shown that the relationship between African migrants and South Africans in South Africa is characterized by hostility. The demise of apartheid in the early 1990s did not only remove exclusivist legislations against Black South Africans, but also legislations that restricted African migration. This led to new forms of contest between South Africans and African migrants. This article does not oppose the idea of the presence of hostility in the relationships between these two groups, however, it argues that using the xenophobic brush to paint these ties as a monochrome does not provide a holistic picture of a complex nature of relationships that exist beyond xenophobia. Critical questions include: beyond the argument that depicts hostile relations between the two groups, are there other types of network ties that exist that are not necessarily hostile? Do they enable the integration of these migrants? Specifically, are there important dyadic ties between Nigerian migrants and South Africans which enable the integration of the migrants? What roles do social capital and ubuntu play in this equation and, lastly, what is the nature of these ties? Based on the foregoing, this study holistically examines and explains the nature of dyadic ties between Nigerian migrants and their most important dyadic ties with South African citizens. It further investigates how these dyadic ties have been instrumental in the migrants’ integration.

Keywords: Migration, networks, Ubuntu, dyadic ties.