Refugeehood in Crisis and the Quest for a Decolonial Turn in Africa

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Norman Pinduka


Coloniality, Decoloniality, Refugee Regime, Africanism, Forcibly Displaced, Forced Displacement


Current trends in refugee protection within the African continent expose the deep-seated manifestations of coloniality. The 20th-century Eurocentric approaches to the management of people of concern continue to guide refugee protection in Africa. The approaches that are arguably a triumph of ‘European Universalism’ or Eurocentrism in refugee protection, both in theory and praxis, continue to be questioned because of their unmistakable results – the formation of hierarchies between Africans based on nationality and territoriality. This has led to the categorisation of African people and power conflicts, clashes, and intense contests for co-existence. Such a status quo has been normalised to be natural, occasioning deplorable refugee situations in the continent. Against such a background, this article aims to augment and complement the broad swathe of literature in the quest for African Renaissance movements using a Decolonial approach to refugee protection. It departs from untangling the lived experiences of the forcibly displaced, particularly refugees and asylum seekers, to critique the Western-influenced system of refugeehood in Africa. The research argues that the modern approaches to refugeehood rooted in Eurocentrism have eliminated ways of acceptance and co-existence amongst Africans, disregarding some of the traditional ways of incorporation, inclusion and integration. Instead, the refugee regime has been ordering, othering and hierarchizing the forcibly displaced, making them typical subjects of coloniality. It suggests decolonising the asylum system, considering an African-driven refugee regime and the involvement of local communities in the management of migration.


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