To What Cost to its Continental Hegemonic Standpoint: Making Sense of South Africa’s Xenophobia Conundrum Post Democratization

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  • Daniel Nkosinathi Mlambo Tshwane University of Technology
  • Victor H. Mlambo University of Zululand



African National Congress, South Africa, Hegemony, Migrants, Xenophobia


From the 1940s, a period where the National Party (NP) came into power and destabilized African and Southern Africa’s political dynamics, South Africa became a pariah state and isolated from both the African and African political realms and, to some extent, global spectrum(s). The domestic political transition period (1990-1994) from apartheid to democracy further changed Pretoria’s continental political stance. After the first-ever democratic elections in 1994, where the African National Congress (ANC) was victorious, South Africa was regarded as a regional and continental hegemon capable of re-uniting itself with continental and global politics and importantly uniting African states because of its relatively robust economy. However, the demise of apartheid brought immense opportunities for other African migrants to come and settle in South Africa for diverse reasons and bring a new enemy in xenophobia. Post-1994, xenophobia has rattled South Africa driven (albeit not entirely) by escalating domestic social ills and foreign nationals often being blamed for this. Using a qualitative methodology supplemented by secondary data, this article ponders xenophobia in post-democratization South Africa and what setbacks this has had on its hegemonic standpoint in Africa post the apartheid era.


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Author Biographies

Daniel Nkosinathi Mlambo, Tshwane University of Technology

Daniel Nkosinathi Mlambo holds a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Zululand and is a New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in the Department of Public Management. His research interests revolves around regional integration in Africa (particularly Southern Africa), Corruption, Governance and Democracy and Migration.

Victor H. Mlambo, University of Zululand

Victor H. Mlambo is a Lecturer at the University of Zululand under the Department of Politics and International Studies. Victor’s areas of research include in Migration, Regional Integration and issues of Gender equality and Geopolitics.


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How to Cite

Mlambo, D. N., & Mlambo, V. H. (2021). To What Cost to its Continental Hegemonic Standpoint: Making Sense of South Africa’s Xenophobia Conundrum Post Democratization. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(2), 347–361.



Original Manuscript
Received 2020-12-31
Accepted 2021-03-18
Published 2021-05-10