Original Research

The interplay of migrants and host nations for the good of nations: A biblical-theological reflection

Christopher Magezi
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 58, No 1 | a3003 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v58i1.3003 | © 2024 Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2023 | Published: 22 January 2024

About the author(s)

Christopher Magezi, Department of Missiology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa

Abstract

South African citizens usually accuse foreign nationals of stealing their jobs and increasing the crime rate in the country. Such accusations have often resulted in xenophobic violence. Unfortunately, not much effort has been made to depict immigrants in positive light to improve the relations between them and the indigenous population. Thus, this article utilised Joseph’s narrative (as described in Genesis in the Old Testament) as a biblical-theological lens in an attempt to mitigate the negative perceptions of migrants among the South African indigenous population. The narrative cast a positive picture on migration by presenting Joseph who, as a foreigner in Egypt, contributed to the development of the economy of Egypt. This article accomplished its aforementioned objective by initially interrogating relevant literature that identified and discussed the various factors that portrayed immigrants negatively, thereby pushing disgruntled South African citizens to engage in xenophobic violence. Thereafter, Joseph’s forced migration to Egypt is discussed. This narrative was used as a biblical-theological lens to establish the contributions of foreign nationals in the development of the economies of host nations. While applying the biblical-theological lens of Joseph’s narrative to the contemporary situation of migration, this article lamented the dearth of research on the contributions of foreigners to host nations. Furthermore, pertinent sources were used to highlight the correlation between Joseph’s narrative and the current migration situation. Having underscored the aforementioned, this article argued that the current positive contributions that immigrants have made to the host nations’ economies, should compel the nations to construct migration policies and frameworks that proactively integrate immigrants. Furthermore, formal recognition of any such contributions would encourage peaceful coexistence between the indigenous population and foreign nationals, resulting in a more compassionate and inclusive world. That is, instead of regarding immigrants with resentment and anger, nations can create a world where migration is not only acknowledged but celebrated as a fundamental part of the human experience. In its attempt to encourage peaceful coexistence between the indigenous population and immigrants in South Africa, this article aligned with the principles of this journal, which aim to develop South African society by addressing the ongoing challenge of xenophobia within some of the country’s communities.

Contribution: The contribution of this article lies in that formal recognition of any positive contributions made by foreign nationals would encourage peaceful coexistence between the indigenous population and foreign nationals, resulting in a more compassionate and inclusive world where immigrants are primarily viewed positively rather than as mere criminals.


Keywords

immigrants; the indigenous population; peaceful coexistence; xenophobia; Joseph’s forced migration to Egypt; migration policies and frameworks.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

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