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Notes from South Africa - Tolu Pt. 1

Tolu with South African locals

Rutgers Graduate School-Newark
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Notes from South Africa - Tolu Pt.1


A heartfelt thanks to USAID and RU-N for this research opportunity as my time thus far in South Africa has been tremendously productive. My research has evolved and grown stronger over the last two months. Originally, I was looking at economic development issues. This interest caused me to examine the relationship between nationals and non-nationals (specifically refugees and asylum seekers from other African nations). This refined research topic led me to conduct several days of participant observation at the South African Home Affairs Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town (Foreshore) and Pretoria (Marabastad), shown in this order in the pictures below. This is where I saw firsthand that a typical day for an asylum seeker or refugee looking to renew their application/status starts at 4:00am and can end with or without a positive outcome. At times, they are told to come back on another day regardless of how far they have travelled, how difficult it is for them to afford the trip, or when their current status expires.  This created the basis for my follow-up interview questions and supplemental conversations with refugee advocates who work with the refugees and asylum seekers living in Cape Town's most neglected and resource-poor townships."

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