Shabalala’s research examined decolonisation within the context of institutional transformation and transformation at individual level; trade amongst African countries and the central role played by economic participation in socio-political realities; migration through inter- and intra-movements and social relations between foreign and local nationals.
‘Colonialism on the continent was not only motivated by the capitalist expansion of European superpowers; simultaneously it sought to displace and strip Africans of their identity. The colonial borders had a huge impact in relation to displacement of families and clans,’ said Shabalala. ‘To counter this, a process of decolonisation of social patterns is of paramount importance. This will allow trade on the continent to materialise, in terms of movement of both goods and people as migration on a global scale is inevitable.’
Shabalala argues that there is an urgent need for institutional transformation to address issues pertaining to migration and mobility. He also notes that the call by the #fallistmovement for decolonised education in South African Higher Education Institutions could be viewed as an effort to address some of the structural issues.
His research also investigated the reasons why people migrate, and concluded that capital is the central element that encourages such movement. ‘In relation to social cohesion, South African nationals are not necessarily xenophobic…it’s the government that has elements of xenophobia due to exclusion of foreign nationals in South African local structures. However, in some instances, narrow and unguided nationalism tends to prevail.’ He also argues that education is key to participating in economic activities.