A possie in Aussie

September 2, 2009

“In a train they will not sit next to you”: African refugees in Australia speak

Filed under: African,race relations,racism,refugee — Nayano @ 9:19 am
Tags: , , ,

Over 20,000 refugees from the Horn of Africa have been resettled to Australia in the past decade. (See the recent report of a project I worked on: Sustaining Settlement of Sudanese in Murray Bridge South Australia)

“The media and public opinion in Australia seldom, if ever, addresses the fact  that so many people from African countries are succeeding  in building new lives,  as  well  as  contributing  to  the  richness  of  the  social,  cultural  and  economic fabric of Australia.

A major attribute of refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa is their resilience and adaptability. As well, there are many who are facing major challenges and problems in the process of settling into a new and vastly different country and culture.”

This report We have a voice, hear us: settlement experiences of refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa, lets the Africans in Australia speak for themselves.

Here is a sample:

On being informed of acceptance to come to Australia:

“I  am  going  to  paradise,  I  will  be  staying  in  a  beautiful  house,  I  will  learn English and will be  living with  friendly, supportive people who accepted people to  come  to  their  country.  I expect everything to be good.”  (Refugee from Sudan)

On the resilience of African refugees:

“I  see my  refugee experience as  strength not a weakness,  I have  survived a  lot and Australians  can  learn a  lot  from our  journey, our  experiences, our way of thinking.  We  can  be  inspirational  if  we  are  allowed  to  express  ourselves.” (Refugee from Somalia)

Not feeling at home:

“I don’t think about going back to Sudan because there is still a war going on, but I think about going back to Kenya. I felt at home in Kenya…here I feel like I am not in my country…I feel like an unwanted visitor. When you go out people look at you funny and in a train they will not sit next to you unless the train is full and yours is the only seat they have left.” (Refugee from Sudan)

On feeling at home:

“Australia  is  one  place  you  can  do  something  normal,  live  a  normal  live  in  a multicultural place that is secure.” (Refugee from Sudan)



  1. The 20,000 African refugees mentioned in this article, all seem to be sitting idle in Blacktown at Australian taxpayers expense. It’s a ghetto forming right under the noses of our illustrious politicians. I for one, strongly resent this experiment in social engineering. Australia is an Anglo-Saxon country, and I want to keep it that way. It’s probably gone too far, as these foreigners breed faster than we do. NOT HAPPY

    Comment by J. Whitaker — September 5, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

    • Hi
      I agree that ghettos may be forming, but not all Africans are in Blacktown getting the dole.
      I work with Sudanese in Murray Bridge who are more than 100% employed- that is, several have more than one full time job!.
      They have moved from the city because, despite their best efforts, they can’t get work there. There is plenty of work (and cheap housing) in Murray Bridge.
      Why did they not get wok in Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney? Who knows. I think it is because employers don’t want to ‘take a risk’ on Africans if they can get
      ‘whites’ -call it racism if you will, or call it caution – it means that many many Africans try over and over to get employment, and over and over again get knocked back.

      Comment by nayano — September 5, 2009 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

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