Laura Freeman’s work focuses on the violent exclusion of “outsiders”. While her PhD research focuses on the exclusion of the Banyamulenge in Congo, much of her other research and practitioner work focuses on migration and xenophobia in South Africa. Laura has worked in communities across South Africa that have experienced xenophobia. Laura has been expert panellist on a Human Rights Commission national hearing on migration, xenophobia and social cohesion. She has taught postgraduates and professionals about xenophobia in Africa.
Laura is a Research Associate at the Safety & Violence Initiative (SaVI) at UCT. Previous roles include: Migration & Conflict Advisor to Freedom House (Southern Africa); Deputy Director at ALPS Resilience; Programme Manager at SaVI; and lecturer in Political Studies, UCT.
Title and Summary of PhD Project
Minority Group Aggression and the ethnic security dilemma: An examination of the Banyamulenge in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
This thesis seeks to examine if the intrastate security dilemma theory – first developed in the 1990s to explain civil war in the Balkans – can apply to the case of the Banyamulenge in then Zaïre in the 1990s. The thesis primarily seeks to develop the intrastate security dilemma theory, and uses the case of the Banyamulenge to test and develop the theory. The Banyamulenge – a small minority group in South Kivu, often thought to be Rwandan – joined Laurent Kabila’s AFDL that overthrew Zaïre’s longstanding president Mobutu Sese Seko. The thesis asks if the security dilemma framework – and local fear of annihilation – can explain why the Banyamulenge joined a rebel group that sparked the first Congo War.
Freeman, L. (forthcoming). Defying Empirical and Causal Evidence: Busting the Media’s Myth of Afrophobia in South Africa. Moyo & Mpofu (Eds.) Mediating Xenophobia: Unpacking Media Discourses of Migration, Belonging and Othering in Africa (Palgrave)
Freeman, L. (2019) “They’re All Terrorists: The Securitisation of Asylum in Kenya”, in Extremisms in Africa, Vol. 2 (Johannesburg: Tracy McDonald Publishers)
Freeman, L. (2017). Environmental Change, Migration, and Conflict in Africa: A Critical Examination of the Interconnections. Journal of Environment and Development 26(4): 351-374
Freeman, L. (2015). The African Warlord Revisited. Small Wars and Insurgencies 26(5): 790-810
Freeman, L., & McDonald, C. (2015). Mapping Khayelitsha: The Complexities of Everyday Policing in a High Crime Area. South African Crime Quarterly (SACQ) 53: 27-37
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?