Could we think of the black subject under apartheid as a refugee, and might this
condition be the paradigmatic metaphor for thinking about the postcolonial African
predicament of citizenship? This paper considers the xenophobic violence
that occurred in South Africa in 2008 and recasts that event by thinking about
the plight of the refugee as part of what it argues is a genealogy of “anxious
urbanity.” This, the paper suggests, has defined the urban subject of colonial
and apartheid modes of governmentality and has consequences for how we
think about the postcolonial present of citizenship.