An analysis of knowledge and opinions on xenophobia among North West University students, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa (2008-2010)
Laura, Onyebukwa Ogochukwu
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The main objective of this study was to analyze the knowledge and opinions on Xenophobia among Students in North West University, Mafikeng Campus, North-West Province, South Africa. The hypotheses tested by the research were that negative opinions about foreigners lead to inclination to xenophobia; positive opinions about foreigners lead to non-inclination toward xenophobia and that economic and sociological factors influence negative opinions about foreigners. The results of the study showed that the major source of opinions about foreigners were mostly through personal contact with foreigners possibly within the university environment as foreign lecturers and students account for a sizable percentage of the university population. The majority of the respondents knew and understood xenophobia as hatred and dislike of foreigners. Many of the respondents were of the opinion that only a few South Africans were xenophobic. Only 2.5% actually admitted to having hatred and dislike for foreigners. It was found that whereas the incIination of respondents to xenophobia decreases with increase in friendships with foreigners, it increases with increase in the opinion that foreigners must not be allowed into South Africa. Al so while inclination of respondents to xenophobia increases with increase in the opinion that foreigners are a threat to locals securing matrimonial partners; in their own words "taking away their women", surprisingly it decreases with increase in the view that foreigners are taking the jobs meant for South Africans. Previous studies have shown that attitudes toward xenophobia arc mostly associated with people with very little or no educational exposure and that fear, dislike and hatred, generally result from ignorance. This appears to be the case regarding xenophobia and negative attitudes towards foreigners in South Africa, the primary challenge identified here is education. Adult education at grass-root level has a role to play. It is recommended that citizens be given access to accurate in formation through all sorts of media such as television programmes, radio, newspapers and magazines, to dispel myths and stereotypes about migrants, immigrants and refugees. In addition, a greater sense of continental ism and international ism should be developed in the country through adult education and curriculum reform at schools and through the public pronouncements of opinion-makers. Service delivery should also be improved in the rural areas and township settlements which evidently arc the areas prone to such incidents of xenophobia. Immigration laws should be revised to provide guidelines regarding the issuance and renewal or permits, as well as implementing more stringent steps to ensure effective border control, thereby limiting and eventually curbing illegal migrants in the country.
- Humanities