Publication Date

April 2019


Kerwin Kaye, Lily Saint


College of Social Studies


English (United States)


Zimbabwean immigrants are the largest immigrant group living in South Africa today. The majority of these immigrants are economic immigrants fleeing Zimbabwe’s economic crisis that began in early 2000 and peaked in 2008. However, some of these immigrants are also LGBTQIA immigrants fleeing Zimbabwe because it criminalizes homosexuality. South Africa protects all people and supports gay marriage and adoption and this is written in its Constitution. South Africa also has the most progressive immigration laws and protections for LGBTQIA people. Yet, South Africa suffers from immense Xenophobia and Homophobia. In 2008, 2015 many immigrants were killed by South Africans who claimed the immigrants were taking their jobs. The South African government denies that South Africans are xenophobic or homophobic. In fact, some LGBTQIA international organizations have named South Africa as a safe haven. But many LGBTQIA immigrants are dying in South Africa. Their lived experiences do not match what the law mandates. My thesis argues that this incongruity is because of the mass economic inequality that has not been resolved since Apartheid. Additionally, I argue that because South Africa refuses to engage with the traumas of Apartheid in an honest way, the LGBTQIA immigrant is used a scape goat for all the failings of the state.



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