From Integration to Repatriation. Flight, Displacement, and Expulsion in Post-colonial Africa

Ewout Frankema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter reviews the surge of forced migration against the backdrop of intensifying political violence in post-colonial Africa. I argue that, historically, African societies had long supported the integration of “aliens” into domestic systems of slavery to enhance agricultural labor supplies, accumulate wealth, strengthen military capacity, reproduce lineages, and bolster elite status. In colonial times, when slavery was outlawed, forced displacement remained primarily motivated by the desire to concentrate cheap labor in key sites of export production. However, Africa’s post-colonial nation-states increasingly turned to the expulsion of aliens, to the deliberate displacement of enemies within and across national borders, and to the repatriation of international refugees. This chapters attributes this shift from integration to repatriation, and the related changes in the attitude of receiving societies, to the long-run demographic transition that has profoundly altered the relative scarcity of rural and urban labor supplies, as well as the juncture in the meaning and legal status of territorial borders and related notions of national identity and citizenship in the transition from colonial to sovereign rule.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMigration in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationShifting Patterns of Mobility from the 19th to the 21st Century
EditorsM. de Haas, E. Frankema
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781000563290
ISBN (Print)9781032125299
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022


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