Guess who's coming to dinner? Migration from Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to South Africa

David A. McDonald, Lovemore Zinyama, John Gay, Fion de Vletter, Robert Mattes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Although a more balanced debate about cross-border migration in South Africa is starting to take place, xenophobic stereotypes about migrants of African origin are still all too common. Allusions to a "flood of illegal aliens" who bring disease and crime to the country and who are seen to be a threat to the social and fiscal stability of South Africa are, unfortunately, still rife in the mainstream press in South Africa. This article is an attempt to challenge some of these stereotypes. Drawing on national surveys recently conducted by the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) in Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, it will be argued that much of the negative stereotyping around cross-border migration from these three countries in particular is unfounded. A profile of migration histories of those interviewed is followed by a discussion of peoples' attitudes towards cross-border movement and immigration policy as well as an analysis of possible future migration trends. The article concludes with a discussion of the policy relevance of the research and makes some general policy recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-841
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2000


  • cross border migration
  • xenophobia
  • migrants


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