Right-wing populists use the precarious lives of immigrant communities as a convenient play tool. The Right (and its sympathisers in the DA and ANC here in SA) exclusively frames our “birthright” in uncritical and narrow terms bequeathed to us by the Berlin Conference. The ANC has been very un-ANC in how it has approached the immigration debate. It panders to loud anti-immigrant sentiment and scapegoating in its urban black constituency while accommodating longstanding anti-African biases in the white community it is intentionally courting. It is un-ANC because one of the founding pillars of the Congress Movement was the need to unify the African people, in moving away from the exclusivist and colonially enforced notions of “tribe”. Samora Machel spoke about the need for the “tribe to die” as a precondition for the “nation to rise”. Similarly, for any semblance of humanity to emerge globally the exclusivist and narrow interest of the nation state has to die. Notwithstanding its limi...

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