Border Violence in Africa

Ibreck, Rachel and Weslety, Souhayel. 2024. Border Violence in Africa. In: Obert Bernard Mlambo and Ezra Chitando, eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Violence in Africa. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 119-139. ISBN 9783031407536 [Book Section]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

This chapter focuses on border violence targeting refugees and migrants on routes from Africa to Europe. First, we situate this violence in context, exploring the histories and meanings of borders on the African continent—including debates about their origins in colonial interventions. Second, we conceptualize the violence of Eurocentric interventions in border management in Africa. Finally, we present a case study of memories and experiences of border violence, based upon ethnographic research. We catalogue blinding abuses on journeys to Tunisia, inside the country, and in Mediterranean waters. We also reveal a Tunisian “borderscape” where intensifying racism and violence against “foreign” migrants is woven into domestic political struggles. Tunisians “burn the border” (harraga) with subversive migration practices; they also counteract it with social solidarities, and justifications for freedom of movement. With attention to these experiences, we illuminate how border violence relates to state violence, affecting migrants, refugees, and citizens alike.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



6 May 2024Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

09 May 2024 13:27

Last Modified:

09 May 2024 13:27


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)