Why are Nigerians flocking to South Africa? What are they doing here? And what are their plans?
To answer these questions, we first need to differentiate between three types of Nigerians living in South Africa. It is important to note that the main differentiating factor between the three is their ‘intention for relocating to South Africa’. Based on this, we have formulated three categories of Nigerians living in South Africa, namely; Globetrotters, Pros and Wanderers.
1. The Globetrotters – Widely travelled individuals
The Globetrotters are Nigerians in South Africa who have travelled and/or lived in developed countries such as the USA and UK.
This category of Nigerians see South Africa as a rebound or Plan B. Having lived in a developed country, they have become accustomed to the comfort and convenience that comes with living in a developed country. As a result, they do not see themselves being able to cope with the harsh living conditions in Nigeria. Having had an uninterrupted supply of water and electricity, they can no longer tolerate not having either one of these regardless of how much they love their country. They see South Africa as the best of both Africa and the Western world. With its world class infrastructure and relatively stable governance, South Africa is perfect for this category of Nigerians.
2. The Pros – Highly skilled professionals
The Pros usually relocate to South Africa in pursuit of personal and career growth. These individuals are typically self motivated and have a solid plan for achieving success in their chosen career.
This category consists of highly skilled professionals such as doctors, project managers, academics, and masters/ doctoral students.
As sought after professionals in their respective fields, they are good at their jobs and are in South Africa to advance their careers. Their goal for relocating to South Africa is to make a better living for themselves and their families. These talented Nigerian professionals love the African continent and are proud to be part of a thriving African country. They enjoy the orderliness and opportunities that South Africa presents to professionals. Their long term plans are to stay permanently in South Africa and make a name for themselves while also developing the country and its people.
3. Wanderers – Individuals who drift from one African country to another with the aim of settling in a developed country.
Wanderers see South Africa as a gateway/transit point to travel to a developed country.
This third category of Nigerians have no desire to officially settle in South Africa. They have their heart set on bigger and better countries and have applied to or tried to obtain visas from the likes of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Wanderers spend months or even years accumulating just enough funds to leave South Africa for ‘greener pastures’. They usually have no set career and are self-employed e.g. hairdressers/ barbers and small shop owner.