This thesis analyses the different forms and levels of marginalisation of migrants in South African Society. African migrants who face abuse, marginalisation and social-economic exclusion through rowdy practices of public officials and institutionalized prejudice revealed that, most South African citizens have the perception that all Nigerians are drug dealers and criminals. Whereas, Nigerian are of the perception that all South African are xenophobic and hate African migrants. Nigerian migrants believe that they are worst hated at community and individual level by South African citizens and other migrants. In some instances, Nigerian migrants often participate in their own abuse, marginalisation and even the culture of killing each other as they are divided along regional and ethnic lines. More so now that Nigerians from the South Eastern part of Nigeria are strongly agitating for the actualization of their own country called Biafra.
The study proposes an analytical framework for understanding the social exclusion of Nigerian migrants emphasizing on how abuse, marginalisation and devaluation of migrants identity narrows the existing structure of opportunity, which often lead to numerous surviving devices; some of which are deviant. Moral and pragmatic views were proposed through this study to assist in the understanding of the abuses, marginalisation and social-economic exclusion of migrants from a multicultural perspective where migrants are citizens of a global village. Pastoral care and counselling models were also proposed to assist migrants who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder to help them regain wholeness again. Using a qualitative methodology the research provides an in-depth analysis of thirty (30) ‘documented’ and ‘undocumented’ Nigerian migrants, men and women, twelve (12) South African indigenes, six (6) Clergy men and women who are South Africans and foreign nationals. Five (5) workers of different Organizations within East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The research was carried out from 2017 to 2018.
Part of the findings is that all the people living in South Africa are immigrants who migrated from somewhere to settle here either as ‘earlier alien settlers’ or as ‘new alien settlers’. The Koi-san people are known to be the ‘original dwellers’ in South Africa. Earlier settlers who are black Bantu migrants from East Africa, central Africa; the whites from Europe; and the Asians from Asia do not want Nigerians and other Africans who happen to be ‘New alien settlers’ to have their space in South Africa any longer. Whereas, white ‘New alien settlers’ are welcome to settle here with ease. Afrophobic treatment of this nature seems to be responsible for the negative effect of hardening Nigerians and other African migrants, which has driven some of them further underground where they may even engage in bad behaviour to survive. Most of these migrants already see death in South Africa as part of what they have to deal with on a daily basis. They view it as part of the calculated risks of being an unwelcomed alien in a foreign land. Therefore, death is not deterring them from doing anything good or bad to survive in South Africa.
Based on the responses of the participants, the study found that Nigerians are not born criminals, but their main problem is the inability to renew their legal permits coupled with abuse, marginalisation and social-economic exclusion suffered by African migrants and this is responsible for crime committed by some Nigerians. It should be noted that, the study did not find enough evidence to suggest that only Nigerians are responsible for the drug business and crime committed in South Africa.