Noah’s Ark to the Great Commission: Defusing Xenophobia in South Africa

Jonas Sello Thinane ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.9 No.10 October 2023 Issue  Article 3  pp. 500-509
DOI : |   Published online 20th October, 2023.
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


While incidents of xenophobia, or the occurrence thereof, in some parts of South Africa, are both deplorable and deeply reprehensible, it is important never to ignore the political factors that perpetuate them. Using the interpretive method, this article drew on the literature to present or reinterpret the story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis 6:13-9:29 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 in a way that is aimed at defusing xenophobia in South Africa. The Missio Politica as used in this paper provided a missiological framework in which political factors perpetuating xenophobia were seen as an obstacle to the goals of the Missio Dei, particularly the complete redemption of humanity. This paper argued that the continued unlawful imposition of international sanctions against some African countries such as Zimbabwe and, moreover, the lack of refugee camps in countries such as South Africa significantly exacerbates the problem of xenophobia. Consequently, pursuant to defusing xenophobia in South Africa, this paper calls for a renewed mission that includes rejecting unlawful sanctions against African countries and establishing refugee camps not only in South Africa but in all African countries.

Keywords: Missio Dei, Noah’s Ark, Missio Politica, Xenophobia, Africa, South Africa

Adjai, Carol, and Gabriella Lazaridis. “Migration, Xenophobia and New Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Int’l J. Soc. Sci. Stud. 1 (2013): 192.

Alvermann, D. E., and C. A. Mallozzi. “Interpretive Research.” In Handbook of Reading Disability Research, edited by Anne McGill-Franzen, Richard L. Allington, George Hruby, John Elkins, Peter Johnston, and S. Jay Samuels, 488–98. Abingdon: Routledge, 2010.

AmaShabalala, M. “I will resign once all foreign ‘rascals’ are locked up and keys thrown away: Aaron Motsoaledi,” (2022). Available at: [Accessed 4 Apr. 2023].

Atrey, Shreya. “Understanding Xenophobia as Intersectional Discrimination.” Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 79 (2022): 1007.

Bordeau, Jamie. Xenophobia. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc, 2009.

Crawford, Neta C, and Audie Klotz. “How Sanctions Work: A Framework for Analysis.” In How Sanctions Work: Lessons from South Africa, 25–42. Springer, 1999.

Crush, Jonathan. “The Perfect Storm: The Realities of Xenophobia in Contemporary South Africa,” 2008.

Elliott, Robert, and Ladislav Timulak. “Descriptive and Interpretive Approaches to Qualitative Research.” A Handbook of Research Methods for Clinical and Health Psychology 1, no. 7 (2005): 147–59.

Gibson, Nigel C. “What Happened to the ‘Promised Land’? A Fanonian Perspective on Post‐apartheid South Africa.” Antipode 44, no. 1 (2012): 51–73.

Grebe, Jan. “And They Are Still Targeting: Assessing the Effectiveness of Targeted Sanctions against Zimbabwe.” Africa Spectrum 45, no. 1 (2010): 3–29.

Hanlon, J., and R. Omond. The Sanctions Handbook. Puffin Books, 1987.

Harris, Bronwyn. “Xenophobia: A New Pathology for a New South Africa.” Psychopathology and Social Prejudice, 2002, 169–84.

Hertig, Paul. “The Great Commission Revisited: The Role of God’s Reign in Disciple Making.” Missiology 29, no. 3 (2001): 343–53.

Hervik, Peter. “Xenophobia and Nativism.” International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences 2 (2015): 796–801.

Kang’ethe, S M, and V Duma. “Exploring Dimensions of Post-Apartheid Xenophobic Sentiments towards African Immigrants in South Africa.” Insight on Africa 5, no. 2 (2013): 157–68.

Kaunda, Chammah J. “Enabling Liminality Prophetic Witness to Xenophobia: Proposing a Missiological Spirit Response for the Church in South Africa.” Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship= Koers: Bulletin Vir Christelike Wetenskap 81, no. 1 (2016): 1–9.

Levy, Philip I. “Sanctions on South Africa: What Did They Do?” American Economic Review 89, no. 2 (1999): 415–20.

Lines, Thomas. “Investment Sanctions and Zimbabwe: Breaking the Rod.” Third World Quarterly 10, no. 3 (1988): 1182–1216.

Mamabolo, Malemela A. “Drivers of Community Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa: Poverty and Unemployment.” TD: The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa 11, no. 4 (2015): 143–50.

Manby, Bronwen. “South Africa: The Impact of Sanctions.” Journal of International Affairs 46, no. 1 (1992): 193–217.

Matunhu, Jephias. “Re-Visiting the May 2008 Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa.” African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies 5, no. 1 (2011): 8.

Michael-Phiri M.  and  J. Cassim, SADC calls for lifting of all sanctions on Zimbabwe (2021). [online] Available at:  [Accessed 7 Apr. 2023].

Mlambo, Daniel N. “A South African Perspective on Immigrants and Xenophobia in Post-1994 South Africa.” African Renaissance (1744-2532) 16, no. 4 (2019).

Mogekwu, Matt. “African Union: Xenophobia as Poor Intercultural Communication.” Ecquid Novi 26, no. 1 (2005): 5–20.

Ng’ang’a, Susan Wanjiru. “Aspects of Migrants’ Theology of God and of Human Beings: A Missiological Exploration of Some Responses to the Xenophobic Violence in and around Tshwane, May 2008.” Citeseer, 2010.

Peberdy, Sally. “Imagining Immigration: Inclusive Identities and Exclusive Policies in Post-1994 South Africa.” Africa Today, 2001, 15–32.

Rydgren, Jens. “The Logic of Xenophobia.” Rationality and Society 16, no. 2 (2004): 123–48.

Sandberg, Jörgen. “How Do We Justify Knowledge Produced within Interpretive Approaches?” Organizational Research Methods 8, no. 1 (2005): 41–68.

Sangal, N. “Xenophobia: An Outcome of Orientalism.” Scholarly Research Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies 5, no. 43 (2018): 10431–34.

Smith,D.“Zulu leader suggests media to blame for South Africa’s xenophobic violence,” (2015).  [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Apr. 2023].

Sobuwa, Y. “ANCYL backs Ramathuba, says she had to address issue of undocumented immigrants,”

(2022).  [online] City Press. Available at:  [Accessed 4 Apr. 2023].

Solomon, Hussein, and Louise Haigh. “Xenophobia in South Africa: Origins, Trajectory and Recommendations.” Africa Review 1, no. 2 (2009): 111–21.

Solomons,T.  “No such thing as refugee camps in SA, says Motsoaledi,” (2012). [online] Available at:  [Accessed 7 Apr. 2023].

Steenkamp, Christina. “Xenophobia in South Africa: What Does It Say about Trust?” The Round Table 98, no. 403 (2009): 439–47.

Tella, Oluwaseun. “Understanding Xenophobia in South Africa: The Individual, the State and the International System.” Insight on Africa 8, no. 2 (2016): 142–58.

Tshitereke, Clarence. “Xenophobia and Relative Deprivation.” Crossings 3, no. 2 (1999): 4–5.

Turner, Simon. “What Is a Refugee Camp? Explorations of the Limits and Effects of the Camp.” Journal of Refugee Studies 29, no. 2 (2016): 139–48.

Ukwandu, Damian C. “Reflections on Xenophobic Violence in South Africa–What Happens to a Dream Deferred?” African Journal of Public Affairs 9, no. 9 (2017): 43–62.

Wimmer, Andreas. “Explaining Xenophobia and Racism: A Critical Review of Current Research Approaches.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 20, no. 1 (1997): 17–41.

Dr. Jonas Sello Thinane is a researcher at the University of South Africa (UNISA), College of Human Sciences (CHS) within the Research Institute for Theology and Religion (RITR). With a PhD in Theology, specializing in Missiology, he has dedicated his entire career to the study and research of missionary work. Since then, he has published numerous scholarly articles in prestigious journals, covering a wide range of theological topics, but particularly Missiology topics. In addition to his publications, Dr. Thinane continues to actively participate in local and international conferences, seminars, and webinars. As such, his academic contributions continue to make a mark both in South Africa and internationally.

Thinane, Jonas Sello. “Noah’s Ark to the Great Commission: Defusing Xenophobia in South Africa, “ E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies, 9 no.10 (2023): 500 – 509.

© 2023 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Journals. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (