From Prohibited Immigrants to Citizens
South Africa has witnessed horrific xenophobic attacks on its foreign citizens. There are many explanations for why the violence occurs, one of which relates to ideas about lawful citizenship and legal residence. This book explains the making of South African citizenship. It traces and provides the history of the mobility-related laws for the constituent South African populations in the early 1900s: European, Indian (Asian) and African. Control over human mobility, while always understood to be crucial to apartheid through the pass laws, was equally - if not more - significant in the formation of South African citizenship. Specifically, the author argues that the regulation and administration of the Asian population was the direct predecessor of the current Department of Home Affairs and provided the key platform for the elaboration and consolidation of the official vision of a unified (albeit structurally unequal) South African population. This study goes beyond standard and competing accounts of white or black nationalism in South Africa: it intriguingly and uniquely argues that the legal culture of South African citizenship has its origins in the Asian population and its encounters with the emerging South African state.
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