Reflections on migration and religion at a time when migration remains a controversial political issue, whether it concerns disagreements in the US senate over financing President Trump’s proposed wall at the US-Mexico border, the continuing influx of refugees from Africa and the Middle East into Europe, or xenophobia towards African migrants in South Africa and the Royinga in Myanmar. Consequently, continously changing trajectories, net-works and caravans of migration are produced, as a result of peoples differing needs and desires for movement and settlement.
Those who have worked in the field of migration know that the migration of people has been a sustained phenomenon that has shaped the ma-king of societies, it has fractured hegemonies and ultimately produced diverse diasporas. This was evident in the works Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy and Jamaica Kincaid as they have reflected on the fortunes and hardships of the windrush generation in the United Kingdom. Similarly, their predecessors Frantz Fanon, James Baldwin, Aime Cesaire, and Sol Plaatjie wrote widely about the social condition of being black in the world through narratives of migration, where they variously came to confront themselves of the objects of terror, curiosity and the exotic – all tropes that operate to deny black subjectivity. Thus we take as a starting point that transnational migration has significantly shaped the political and intellectual labour has of people of colour.
During the past two decades Africa has experienced significant movement of people from and around the global South, and South Africa has seen a large increase in the number of people migrating to and through the country, to the point where it has become Africa largest container of migrants from across the continent. However, as the field of transnational and migration studies has grown, research about Africa has remained under-represented, and often Africa is depicted as the place from where people flee from in pursuit of liberty and modernity in the ‘North’- away from patriarchies, poverty and superstition in the global South. Locating this volume within the tradition of transnationalism, we start with the recognition that scholars of migration have developed increasing interest in the ways that migrants “sustain multi-stranded social relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement” (Basch, Glick- Schiller & Blanc-Szanton 1994:6).