Start main page content


Class, xenophobia and xenophilia: Migrant experience in Jo’burg’s diverse Cultural Time Zones

When: Wednesday, 18 April 2018 - Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Where: Off campus
Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, Committee Room, 36 Jorissen Street , Braamfontein
Start time:14:00

The Wits City Institute ( WCI)and the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) hosts this honorary research fellow seminar by Melissa Myambo.

In 2008 and 2015, South Africa’s most deadly and violent xenophobic attacks erupted. Dozens of people were killed and thousands displaced. The dominant storyline in the media and the academy cast the figure of the migrant as the perpetual victim of xenophobia.  There was not enough emphasis on nuancing that statement to indicate that it is not all migrants who run the risk of deadly xenophobia even if xenophobia is pervasive at all levels of South African society.  Deadly attacks only took place in specific microspaces, or Cultural Time Zones (CTZs).  Those living in the CTZ of the informal settlement were most vulnerable. Few migrants who live and work in economically privileged CTZs like the suburbs became victims of violence. In this seminar, Myambo will attempy to examine the relationship between (micro)space and migrant experience. Through an analysis of Jo’burg as a cluster of radically different CTZs where language, skin colour, race/ethnicity, education, socio-economic class etc. function in different ways to impact the migrant experience, Myambo will try to uncover the nuanced reasons why working-class migrants who work and live in socio-economically deprived CTZs may experience intense xenophobia whilst middle-class professionals, especially those from Western countries, often enjoy high levels of xenophilia.

Myambo is an Honorary Research Fellow at WCI and Visiting Researcher at CIS

calendar iconAdd event to calendar