Bright, RK (2018) 'A great deal of discrimination is necessary in administering the law': Frontier Guards and Migration Control in early twentieth century South Africa. Journal of Migration History, 4 (1). pp. 27-53. ISSN 2351-9924

[thumbnail of Frontier Guards article July 2017 final.docx] Text
Frontier Guards article July 2017 final.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (94kB)


This article provides a corrective to recent scholarship surrounding modern migration control, which have emphasised the shared origins of the legal systems created to control migration in the US, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Instead, this article demonstrates how the implementation of migration controls in British colonies, unlike in the US, was deliberately arbitrary, to give discriminatory power to individual border officials to decide who could migrate. It uses the personal papers of Clarence Wilfred Cousins, the Chief Immigration Officer in the Cape, then South Africa (1905-1922), to demonstrate the role of frontier guards in shaping migration experiences. His papers allow a micro-history of a border official’s views and experiences concerning gender, race and class, and a macro-history of migration control in modern history. This source material also highlights the uses and limitations of using ‘ritual’ to understand migration control and how border spaces are experienced.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Brill at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: frontier guards, ritual, nationhood, migration control, life writing, South Africa, gender, race
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2017 10:50
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 01:30

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item