Post-liberation xenophobia in Southern Africa: the case of the influx of undocumented Zimbabwean immigrants into Botswana, c.1995–2004
PublisherRoutledge (Taylor and Francis) www.routledge.com
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For the last two decades, Botswana has had a reputation as a ‘country of immigration’, based on the large-scale import of skilled expatriates from Africa, Asia, and the West. This policy has been accompanied by a general acceptance, and even openness, on the part of Batswana towards non-citizens. In the late 1990s, however, these attitudes began to change, with intolerance towards non-citizens growing in a country where it was unknown only a few years earlier. (Crush 2003:1-2) The underlying reason for the growth in intolerance seems to be related to actual changes in immigration patterns in Botswana. The economic and political problems in Zimbabwe in particular have led to a significant increase in unauthorised migration to and through Botswana. The Botswana authorities have become considerably more active in arresting and deporting unauthorised migrants. Further adding to the visibility of the issue, the media and politicians have begun to identify the presence of ‘illegal immigrants’ as a problem.