Don’t Wake a Snake that Is Sleeping: An Anti-Xenophobia Education Campaign in Cape Town Townships (South Africa) - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Sources. Material & Fieldwork in African Studies Year : 2021

Don’t Wake a Snake that Is Sleeping: An Anti-Xenophobia Education Campaign in Cape Town Townships (South Africa)

Ne pas réveiller un serpent qui dort : une campagne d’éducation anti-xénophobie dans les townships du Cap (Afrique du Sud)

Não despertar uma serpente a dormir: uma campanha de educação anti-xenófoba nas townships da cidade do Cabo (África do Sul)

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Abstract

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has attracted many African migrants fleeing conflict or poverty. Often scapegoated in a country where inequalities persist, they are regularly the target of attacks in the townships. The particularly violent attacks of 2008 encouraged NGOs providing services for migrants to organise awareness-raising activities on migration issues for township residents. To understand their approach, this article focuses on a working document—a worksheet—used by the Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA) in its anti-xenophobia education campaign. The analysis focuses on the institutional vision of migration and xenophobia that this worksheet conveys, which ARESTA and its main donor, the UNHCR, both support. It also sheds light on the particular interpretation of the worksheet by an ARESTA employee during sessions in schools when he is assigned to address a teenage audience. For this employee, it is necessary to be able to talk about migration and xenophobia without “waking up a snake that is sleeping,” i.e. without arousing xenophobic sentiments that ARESTA aims to fight. Although he sometimes has to tinker with the “depoliticised political discourse” (as Bourdieu put it) of the UNHCR and ARESTA and adapt it to his objective and to his audience, he avoids sensitive issues and gets around difficulties by depoliticising the topic of migration and xenophobia. The universal arguments that he uses, which aim to be consensual at all costs, prevent the construction of a “we” that would challenge the citizen/foreigner distinction at the root of xenophobia.
Depuis la fin de l’apartheid en 1994, l’Afrique du Sud attire de nombreux exilés africains qui fuient les conflits ou la pauvreté. Souvent désignés comme boucs émissaires dans un pays où persistent de fortes inégalités, ils sont régulièrement la cible d’attaques dans les townships. Celles-ci prennent une forme particulièrement violente en 2008, ce qui pousse des ONG « de service » pour migrants à organiser des actions de sensibilisation aux questions migratoires à l’attention des habitants des townships. Pour comprendre leur approche, cet article se focalise sur un document de travail – une feuille de route – utilisée par l’Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA) dans le cadre de sa campagne d’éducation anti-xénophobe. L’analyse se concentre sur la vision institutionnelle que cette feuille de route véhicule, autrement dit le regard que portent ARESTA et son principal bailleur, le Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR), sur la migration et la xénophobie. L’article revient également sur l’interprétation particulière que fait un employé d’ARESTA de ce document et de cette vision lorsqu’il intervient dans des écoles pour s’adresser à un public adolescent. Pour cet employé, il faut pouvoir parler de migration et de xénophobie sans « réveiller un serpent qui dort », c’est-à-dire sans susciter le sentiment xénophobe qu’ARESTA veut combattre. S’il doit parfois bricoler le « discours politique dépolitisé » (selon l’expression de Bourdieu) du HCR et d’ARESTA pour l’adapter à cet objectif et à son audience, il évite les questions sensibles et contourne les difficultés en dépolitisant le sujet. Les arguments universels qu’il mobilise, qui visent à être consensuels à tout prix, empêchent la construction d’un « nous » qui remettrait en cause la distinction citoyens/étrangers au fondement de la xénophobie.
Desde o fim do apartheid em 1994, a África do Sul atrai numerosos exilados africanos que fogem de conflitos ou da pobreza. Designados muitas vezes como bodes expiatórios, num país onde persistem fortes desigualdades, são regularmente alvos de ataques nas townships. Esses ataques tomam uma forma particularmente violente em 2008, forçando as ONG “de serviço” para migrantes a organizar acções de sensibilização para as questões migratórias dirigidas aos habitantes desses bairros periféricos. Para se compreender a sua abordagem, este artigo incide sobre um documento de trabalho – um roteiro – utilizado pela ARESTA (Agência para a educação, capacitação e advocacia de refugiados), no quadro da sua campanha de educação anti-xenófoba. A análise debruça-se sobre a visão institucional veiculada por este guião, nomeadamente o olhar da ARESTA e do seu principal financiador, o Alto Comissariado para os refugiados (HCR), sobre a migração e a xenofobia. O artigo também detalha a interpretação pessoal que dele faz um funcionário de ARESTA, quando é mandatado para se dirigir a um público adolescente, em escolas. Para este funcionário é necessário poder falar de migração e de xenofobia sem “despertar uma serpente a dormir”. Se por vezes tem de arranjar o “discurso político despolitizado” (de acordo com a expressão de Bourdieu) do HCR e de ARESTA para o adaptar a este objectivo e à sua audiência, evita as questões sensíveis e contorna as dificuldades despolitizando o assunto. Os argumentos universais que mobiliza, visando ser consensuais a qualquer preço, impedem a construção de um “nós” que poria em causa a distinção cidadãos/estrangeiros, como fundamento da xenofobia.
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Dates and versions

halshs-03190917 , version 1 (22-04-2021)
halshs-03190917 , version 2 (10-06-2021)

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Attribution - ShareAlike - CC BY 4.0

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  • HAL Id : halshs-03190917 , version 2

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Léo Fortaillier. Ne pas réveiller un serpent qui dort : une campagne d’éducation anti-xénophobie dans les townships du Cap (Afrique du Sud). Sources. Material & Fieldwork in African Studies, 2021, Sources of violence | Sources de la violence, 2, pp.169-198. ⟨halshs-03190917v2⟩
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