Original Research

Governance, ‘sovereignty-state-territory triad’, human population migration and xenophobia in (South) Africa

Johannes Tsheola, Martina Segage
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 11, No 4 | a40 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v11i4.40 | © 2015 Johannes Tsheola, Martina Segage | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2016 | Published: 31 December 2015

About the author(s)

Johannes Tsheola, Faculty of Management & Law, University of Limpopo, Fauna Park, South Africa
Martina Segage, Department of Development Planning & Management, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa

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This article seeks to examine the association of the concept of governance of international relations and, by implication, human population migration, through the rigid practices of “sovereignty-state-territory triad” with the fomentation and exacerbation of societal stereotypes, attitudes and perceptions of xenophobia in Africa, in general, and South Africa, in particular. Ascriptions of the majority of population migration as “international” affirms the centrality of the operationalisation of the “sovereignty-state-territory triad” in understanding the fragmentary constructions of societal attitudes and perceptions of people resident in distinct geopolitical entities ascribed as national territories. State and non-state governance entrapments with this triad perpetuate societal stereotypes that are in concurrence with bordered-territories where populations described as citizens are stimulated to protect endowments and resources of the land against the perceived destruction associated with the conduct of the out-groups. Unsurprisingly, the theorisation of human population migration has equally been intricately involved with environmental conservation and securitisation of biodiversity that enables land dispossession of the vulnerable sections of the population through the Western economic narratives of “Peace Parks”. Simultaneously in Southern Africa, the concept of African Renaissance, inescapably embedded with “cooperation and conflict” at all scales, has offered a buzzword to be realised through “Peace Parks” that have evidently failed to deliver reaffirmation of African cultures, continental emancipation and democratisation. The preeminence of societal stereotypes, attitudes and perceptions of xenophobia and violent abuses of African immigrants in South Africa provides vivid illustrations of the inconsistencies and non-linearity of concepts such as African Renaissance and “Peace Parks”. This article asserts that measures for repairing the landscapes of xenophobia among Africans, especially in South Africa, will remain pipedreams if they are not embedded with adaptive governance designed to undermine the rigidities of the “sovereignty-state-territory triad”, prevalent in the international relations.


migration; governance; sovereignty; state; territory; African Renaissance; xenophobia; Africa


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