Review Article

Perceptions of church leaders on the integration of migrant youth into South Africa: The case of refugees in the refugee camps managed by churches at Musina

S. Frank Rapholo
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 44, No 1 | a34 | DOI: | © 2020 S. Frank Rapholo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 August 2019 | Published: 10 June 2020

About the author(s)

S. Frank Rapholo, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Humanities, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa


Southern Africa has a long history of intra-regional migration, dating back to the mid-19th century. An increasing number of people migrated to escape poverty, seek livelihoods or escape from political upheavals and civil strife, such as the Mozambican and Angolan civil wars. The patterns and scale of these population movements across the globe are constantly in flux. In spite of South Africa being a signatory to all African Union and Southern African Development Community protocols, little has been achieved with regard to the integration of migrants into mainstream welfare services. This qualitative study aimed to explore and describe the perceptions of church leaders on the integration of migrant youth in Musina into South Africa. The new economics theory of migration was used to understand migrant youth’s conditions from their host countries, which predisposed them to migrate and end up having challenges of being integrated into South Africa. A descriptive case-study design was used to purposively select two church leaders who are the key informants for migrant youth in their churches. Semi-structured interviews were followed, and data were analysed thematically through Nvivo software. Findings show that many problems migrant youth face start with problems around documentation, which leads to their inaccessibility to government services, poor living conditions and starvation. Findings also show that migrant youth face challenges of rejection and discrimination by local citizens. Therefore, stakeholders in Musina should be empowered to collaborate their services for the integration of immigrants into the mainstream activities of South Africa.


church leader; integration; migrant youth; refugee; welfare system


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