Migration : challenges and experiences Somali refugees face in Johannesburg.

Niyigena, Delphine
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Somali refugees living in South Africa are the most recent targets of xenophobic attacks in African townships across the country. However, who are these new immigrant entrepreneurs? This report presents material from research on Somalis living and working in small shops in Mayfair, Gauteng. From their various reasons for leaving Somalia, the report explored their experiences of settling into the host country. The study looked at the experiences and challenges they meet while in Johannesburg. The study considered also the reasons why Somali refugees seem to be the primary target of xenophobia in South Africa. The research was based on interviews that were conducted with Somali refugees. The study considered the livelihoods of Somalis living in Mayfair. It explored the issue of clans that divide the Somali community. It also explored how these refugees access their legal documentation, health care and education in the country of asylum. The Somali community seems to be united however due to different clans that are found here in Johannesburg the study showed that they are not homogeneous. Somali refugees experience so many challenges in trying to make a living. They come to South Africa for safety and protection only to find that their lives are in danger just as it is in Somalia. They mostly involve in informal sector and this has made them become primary target of crime especially in poverty stricken areas. Somali refugees work and live in informal settlements where they face a lot of hardships. Moreover, Somali refugees experience a host of challenges because they lack integration in the local community. The study also looked into the Refugee Act that stipulates that safety and basic services should be provided to all including refugees; however, in reality this has not been implemented because Somali refugees face a host of constraints in accessing those services.