By George Njung. Africans’ lack of knowledge about our own shared refugee experiences continues to fuel hate and discrimination on the continent. For far too long, the global refugee situation has been misconstrued as static, with certain parts of the globe generating disproportionate numbers of refugees and others perpetually faced with the burden of hosting displaced peoples.
By Alfred Tembo and Jochen Lingelbach. While World War II was ravaging Europe, thousands of Polish people found a safe haven in British colonial Africa. This forgotten history shows us that migration patterns are constantly changing.
By Birgit Meyer. The volume Refugees and Religion: Ethnographic Studies of Global Trajectories, co-edited by Birgit Meyer and Peter van der Veer, disputes a hard and fast distinction between migrants and refugees by showing how shifting legal arrangements as well as people’s varying statuses make the concept of ‘refugee’ dynamic.
By Rose Jaji. African “refugeeness” in the media, policy, and academia is an essentialist physical image conflating material deprivation and multiple victimhoods. Historically, African refugees were capable of political participation even to the point of building vibrant states in the new lands they fled to in precolonial Africa.
By Adérito Júlio Machava. During the period prior to the setting up of the Portuguese colonial administration in southeast Africa, there were important waves of forced migrations caused by, firstly, the Mfecane, and secondly the defeat of King Ngungunhane in 1895, and the subsequent overthrow of the Gaza Empire.
By Lazlo Passemiers. Not all people seeking refuge in Africa have been black. One group of white refuge-seekers in Africa consisted of whites who fled from their African countries of residence after the fall of colonial and white minority rule.
By Madina Thiam. On February 17, 1907, a brief note went out of the Dakar office of the Governor-General of French West Africa, addressed to subordinates. The governor had learned through French newspapers that: “According to a report on Northern Nigeria … thousands of Fulanis from the Middle Niger might be migrating from the French territory and heading towards the Nile valley.”
By Marcia C. Schenck. In 1969, the OAU proposed its own refugee convention to reflect African values. Why did it not become policy across the continent?
By Marcia C. Schenck. Are you interested in the history of refuge seeking in Africa? Please check out the recent blog series on Histories of Refuge. This series looks at how people have migrated, sought refuge, and settled, in and out of Africa. It also examines issues such as who gets to be called a refugee, and why?
“Historicizing the refugee experience is crucial to understanding that refugees are not exceptions but integral to the rise of nation-states.” An interview with Marcia Schenck, Professor of Global History at the University of Potsdam, on her newly founded H-Net cross-network project “Refugees in African History”.