• Wim Roestenburg Social Work, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.


From time to time reports about xenophobic attacks on foreigners make news headlines in South Africa. As recently as September 2012 the Mail and Guardian reported on the distribution of letters to foreigners living in Mayfair, Johannesburg, threatening them with death because they are foreign (Parker, 2012). The phenomenon of migration, refugees and citizens fleeing their country of origin to settle in another country is an internationally recognised phenomenon and one that is relevant to social work practice. The social work profession strives to improve the quality of life of all as well as promoting social justice, inclusive of immigrants and refugees, without getting involved in the political or ideological struggle associated with the country’s foreign policy (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney & Strom-Gottfried, 2013:4). Social workers intervene in migrant-related issues during the course of their day-to-day practice.


ABRAMS, D., HOGG, M. & MARQUES, J. 2005. The social Psychology of inclusion and exclusion. New York: Psychology Press.

ANDERSON, J. 2012. Urban displacement and peacebuilding: an analysis of South African social cohesion interventions. Geneva, Switzerland: New issues in refugee research.

ANON. 2012. 2012 UNHCR country operations profile – South Africa. [Online] Available: http://www.unhcr.org/ cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e485aa6#.

CASTLES, S. & MILLER, M.J. 2003. The age of migration. International population movements in the modern world. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

CRISP, J. & KIRAGU, E. 2010. Refugee protection and international migration: a review of UNHCR's role in Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

CRUSH, J. & DODSEN, B. 2007. Another lost decade: the failures of South Africa’s post-apartheid migration Policy. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 98(5):436-454.

ESSES, V., DOVIDIO, J., SEMENYA, A. & JACKSON, L. 2005. Attitudes toward immigrants and immigration: the role of national and international identity. In: ABRAMS, D., HOGG, M. & MARQUES, J. The social Psychology of inclusion and exclusion. New York: Psychology Press, 355.

FAUL, F.E.E. 1992. GPOWER: a priori, post-hoc, and compromise power analysis for MS-Dos. Bonn: s.n. http://socialwork.journals.ac.za/

GREENE, R. 2007. Social work practice: a risk and resilience perspective. Belmont CA: Thompson Brooks/Cole.

GRINNELL, R. & UNRAU, Y. 2008. Social work research and evaluation, foundations of evidence-based practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

GUILD, E. & VAN SELM, J. 2005. International migration and security, opportunities and challenges. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

HARRIS, B. 2001. A foreign experience: violence, crime and xenophobia during South Africa's transition. Johannesburg: Violence and Transition Series.

HEPWORTH, D., ROONEY, R., ROONEY, G. & STROM-GOTTFRIED, K. 2013. Direct social work practice. Canada: Brooks/Cole.

IDRIS, A. 2012. Malaysia and forced migration. Intellectual Discourse, 20(1):31-54.

IFSW, 2010. International Federation of Social Workers. [Online] Available: http://ifsw. org/policies/displaced-persons/ [Accessed: 22/09/2012].

KLOTZ, A. 2000. Migration after Apartheid: deracialising South African foreign policy. Third World Quarterly, 21(5):831-847.

KOHLI, R. 2006. The comfort of strangers: social work practice with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people in the UK. Child and Family Social Work, 11(1):1-10.

KOK, P., GELDERBLOM, D., OUCHO, J. & VAN ZYL, J. 2006. Migration in South and Southern Africa, dynamics and determinants. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council Press.

LESSER L., FERNÁNDEZ-ALFARO, B., COWIE, L. & BRUNIN, X. 2006. Intra-Caribbean migration and the Conflict Nexus. [Online] Available: http://www. unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/search?page=search&query=the+attitudes%2C+prejudices +and+behaviour+that+reject%2C+exclude+and+often+vilify+persons%2C+based+on+the+perception+that+they+are+outsiders+or+foreigners+to+the+community%2C+society+or+national+identity&x=6&y=21 [Accessed: 05/11/2012].

MAKIENA, X. 2010. Zimbabwe’s exodus crisis, migration, survival. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.

McDONALD, D.A., ZINYAMA, L., GAY, J., DE VLETTER, F. & MATTES, R. 2000. Guess who’s coming to dinner: migration from Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to South Africa. International Migration Review, 34(3):813-841.

MTHATHI, S. 2011. South Africa: Open New Johannesburg Refugee Center. [Online] Available: http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/06/02/south-africa-open-new-johan-nesburg-refugee-center. [Accessed: 05/10/2012].

NORD, A. & ASSUBUJI, P. 2010. Editorial. Cape Town: Heinrich Boell Stiftung Southern Africa.

PARKER, F. 2012. Xenophobia rears its head as 'war' declared in Mayfair. Mail and Guardian, 3 September. http://socialwork.journals.ac.za/

PITTAWAY, E., MULI, C. & SHTEIR, S. 2009. “I have a voice – hear me!” Findings of an Australian Study examining the resettlement and integration experience of refugees and migrants from the horn of Africa in Australia. Refuge, 26(2):133-146.

POLZER, T. 2008. Silence and fragmentation: South African responses to Zimbabwean migration. [Online] Available: http://idrc.ca/rpe/ev-158072-201-1-DO_ TOPIC.html [Accessed: 10/10/2012].

POLZER, T. n.d. Population movements in and to South Africa. Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand.

POSEL, D. 2003. Have migration patterns in Post-Apartheid South Africa changed? Johannesburg, South Africa: s.n.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. 2007. Immigration Amendment Act, No 3. Pretoria: Government Printers.

RUGUNANAN, P. & SMIT, R. 2012. Seeking refuge in South Africa: challenges facing a group of Congolese and Burundian refugees. Development Southern Africa, 28(5):705-718.

SAMUEL, E. 2009. Acculturative stress: South Asian immigrant women's experiences in Canada's Atlantic Provinces. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 7(1):16-34.

SCHOCKAERT, L. 2010. An MSF perspective: assisting those hidden from view [Interview] (March 2010).

SIGSWORTH, R., NGWANE, C. & PINO, A. 2008. The gendered nature of xenophobia in South Africa. Johannesburg: The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).

VALJI, N. 2003. Creating the nation: the rise of violent xenophobia in the new South Africa. York: York University.

VERRYN, R.P. 2009. Personal communication [Interview] (19 April 2009).

WEINE, S.M., HOFFMAN, Y., WARE, N., TUGENBERG, T., HAKIZIMANA, L., DAHNWEIGH, G., CURRIE, M., & WAGNER, M. 2011. Secondary migration and relo-cation among African refugee families in the United States. Family Process, 50(1) :27-46.