• Passports, Citizenship, Residency, and Asylum: The Meanings of Decolonisation in Lesotho

    John Aerni-Flessner (see profile)
    Africa, History, Decolonization, Borderlands, Citizenship
    Item Type:
    Lesotho, Refugees, Passport, Asylum, Apartheid, African history, Border studies
    Permanent URL:
    In late colonial Basutoland and early independence Lesotho, the issue of who could access citizenship rights and passports became increasingly important. Political refugees fleeing apartheid South Africa took up passports on offer in the territory to further their political work. Basotho residents also took up passports in increasing numbers as a way of safeguarding their economic, social, and political rights on both sides of the border. The lure of a Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) passport drew refugees to Basutoland in the early 1960s, but it was South Africa’s decision to leave the Commonwealth in 1961 that spurred many in Lesotho to formalize their imperial citizenship as well, even as independence for Lesotho became increasingly likely. The stories of those taking up papers illuminate how citizenship became a space for contestation between individuals and governments. The stories also show how the concept of the transfer of power does not accurately reflect the ways in which the sovereignty of newly independent African states, apartheid South Africa, and the United Kingdom were all limited by a series of decisions made in the late colonial period. Tracing these stories helps us better understand the limitations of the term decolonisation to reflect the understandings and complications of citizenship in 1960s and 1970s southern Africa.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
    All Rights Reserved


    Item Name: pdf aerni-flessner-2018-jich-passports-border.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 657