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Kenyans embrace national and ethnic identities, but interpersonal trust is low, Afrobarometer survey shows

Most Kenyans value both their national and ethnic identities and feel comfortable speaking their mother tongue and wearing traditional dress in public, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey.

Most Kenyans also believe there’s strength in diversity and express tolerant attitudes toward other ethnicities, as well as other religions, political views, and nationalities.

But even though a majority say there is more that unites Kenyans than divides them, very few think they can trust other people.


BP82: Tolerance in South Africa: Exploring popular attitudes toward foreigners

Violence against foreigners has become common since the transition to multi-party rule in 1994. During this period, South Africa’s borders have become more porous, and individuals from several African countries – especially Zimbabwe – have migrated to the country in search of security and opportunities for social mobility. Prior to the transition to democracy, members of the ruling National Party (NP) tightly controlled South Africa’s borders .


BP112: Citizen perceptions of migration in South Africa

The Afrobarometer has been tracking public attitudes towards foreigners resident in South Africa since 2008 because of a vigorous public debate on immigration controls, attacks on foreigners from other African states and accusations of xenophobia. This bulletin reports response to the questions asked in Afrobarometer Round 5 which explores these attitudes as well as drawing public perception on this issue from the 2008 survey for comparison purposes.


AD35: South African youth patriotic, optimistic about national cohesion, but low on civic engagement

South Africa celebrates Youth Day every June 16 to commemorate the students who lost their lives during the Soweto Uprising in 1976. An estimated 3,000-10,000 students marched to protest the apartheid government’s directive to make Afrikaans a compulsory medium of instruction in public education, alongside English. The violent police response to this peaceful protest led to a widespread revolt against the government and exposed the brutality of the apartheid state to the international community.


South Africans bemoan the presence of foreigners in their spaces

The most recent attacks on foreigners in Soweto and Kagiso that resulted in the deaths of 6 people and the looting of over 70 foreign owned shops, raises critical questions about the security of foreigners in a country that prides itself in the philosophy of Ubuntu. In the latest round of the South African leg of the Afrobarometer Survey, a substantial majority (88%) of respondents reported distrust of foreigners living in their country.


Basotho cling to their independence in spite of serious political and economic challenges

Most Basotho, protective of their independence, are against intervention or assistance from neighbouring southern African countries to guarantee free elections and prevent human rights abuses in their country, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.

Basotho are almost equally divided on whether the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) are helpful to Lesotho or not, survey results show.

In addition, a majority of Basotho say their country should continue to be independent of South Africa, despite the two countries’ close ties.


Tribal feelings are increasing in intensity

About half of Zambians (50%) have strong feelings of belonging to their ethnic group (tribe) while at the same time feeling a part of Zambia, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey.

A small but growing number of Zambians place their tribal identity above national identity, according to the survey, which was conducted in October 2014.

The data is being released against a backdrop of public debates about the extent of tribalism in Zambia. It demonstrates that Zambians are, indeed, tribal and tribal feelings are growing in intensity.


AD28: Mauritians welcome ethnic/religious diversity but are less tolerant of homosexuals and people living with HIV/AIDS

Despite their multiplicity of ethnic/cultural (European, African, Indian, Chinese) and religious (Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist) backgrounds, Mauritians have experienced few incidents of ethnic or religious violence. The last major incident dates back to 1999, when the popular Creole musician Kaya was found dead whilst in police custody, triggering riots against the mostly Hindu police and fights between Creoles and Hindus. Since then, the country has lived in relative harmony through three successive national elections.


Mauritians are tolerant of ethnic and religious diversity but less of people living with HIV/AIDS and homosexuals

Afrobarometer’s latest survey shows that Mauritians seem to accept the multi-ethnic and multicultural character of their society and have strong feeling of belonging to the Mauritian nation.

Moreover, the majority of Mauritians do not have any resentment with regards to living in an ethnically and religiously heterogeneous neighbourhood. Most Mauritians did not exhibit xenophobic attitudes and stated that they would live next to immigrants or foreign workers easily
and without fear.


AD34: Les Togolais acceptent les différences sociales à l’exception de celles d’orientation sexuelle

Les Togolais sont célèbres pour leur hospitalité. Ce constat est-il encore vrai de nos jours? Qu’en est-il de la tolérance envers les personnes de religion différente, d’un autre groupe ethnique, d’une autre nationalité, d’orientation sexuelle différente, et de ceux qui vivent avec le VIH/SIDA?


WP26: Does ethnicity determine support for the governing party

Structural theories predict that the cues of social identity, particularly ethnicity, should exert a strong influence upon voting choices and party support in developing societies which are characterized by low levels of education and minimal access to the news media. To explore these issues, this study seeks to analyze the influence of ethno-linguistic and ethno-racial characteristics on identification with the governing party in a dozen African states.


WP38: Understanding identity in Africa: A first cut

A great deal of attention has focused on the effects of diverste social identities and their potentially negative consequences for achieving an overarching national identity, with implications for the stability of politial regimes and for democratic consolidation. This paper draws on representative attitude surveys conducted in South Africa since 1994 by the Institute for Democracy In South Africa (Idasa) and the Afrobarometer to address questions about the actual state of social identity in South Africa, and how it may have shifted since the inception of its new democracy.


WP44: Sources of ethnic identification in Africa

This paper explores the sources of ethnic identification in Africa. The first part draws on survey data from more than 14,000 respondents in nine African countries to investigate the factors that predispose individuals to identify themselves in ethnic terms. Contrary to popular assumptions that Africans are intrinsically "ethnic" people, we find that fewer than one-third of respondents rank their ethnic group as their most important associational membership.


WP66: Ethnic fractionalization, electoral institutions, and Africans’ political attitudes

How do electoral institutions interact with the ethnic fractionalization in shaping citizens’ attitudes towards their political systems? Using Afrobarometer survey data collected from 15 sub-Saharan African countries, along with contextual variables, this study demonstrates that electoral systems have differential effects on citizens’ attitudes about regime performance in various social contexts.


WP68: Identity, institutions and democracy in Nigeria

Ethnicity is a central theme in the analysis of Nigerian politics. Conventional approaches to ethnic politics in Nigeria often assume the existence of stable identities and consistent group motives. It is also commonly asserted that Nigerian political behavior is driven by ethnic solidarities. Ethnic political parties, clientelism, and social polarization are all associated with strong communal allegiances. These practices are regarded as inherently corrosive to a plural democracy.


WP82: Democracy without people: Political institutions and citizenship in the New South Africa

South Africa is widely seen as a leading, if not paradigmatic, success story of the Third Wave of Democracy. This success is just as widely attributed to the country’s supposedly wise choice of new democratic institutions that averted ethnic civil war and induced all key contenders to buy into the new democratic dispensation.


WP83: Ethnicity as a political cleavage

This paper examines the significance of ethnicity as a political cleavage across African nations over time. While scholars have studied the influence of ethnicity in structuring party politics in Africa, those studies have largely been limited to an examination of ruling party support. This work develops a measure of ‘ethnic voting’ that is reflective of all significant parties and ethnic groups. This measure of ‘ethnic voting’ allows us to compare reliably across countries within the Afrobarometer sample.


WP89: Political sources of ethnic identification in Africa

This paper draws on data from over 33,000 respondents in twenty-two surveys in 10 African countries to investigate the political sources of ethnic identification in Africa. We find strong evidence that the strength of ethnic identities in Africa is shaped by political competition. In particular, we find that respondents are more likely to identify in ethnic terms the closer their country is to a competitive presidential election. Exposure to political competition, as well as non-traditional occupations, powerfully affects whether or not people identify themselves in ethnic terms.


WP92: Ethnically dominated party systems and the quality of democracy: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa

This paper is devoted to assessing whether and how the extent to which party systems are ethnicallydominated affects the quality of democracy. Using Afrobarometer survey data, we devise a new indexfor measuring levels of ethnic voting (CVELI) and statistically test its relationship to measures of thequality of democracy. From sub-Saharan Africa, we find evidence to suggest that the extent to whichparty systems are ethnically dominated does negatively affect certain measures of the quality ofdemocracy.


WP103: Tribalism as a minimax-regret strategy: Evidence from voting in the 2007 Kenyan elections

Although many studies find that voting in Africa approximates an ethnic census in that voting is primarily along ethnic lines, few studies have sought to explain such voting behavior using a rational choice framework. In this note, we use data of voter opinions from a survey conducted two weeks before the 2007 Kenyan presidential elections to evaluate the primary motivation for voting. We analyze voter responses on a number of issues and show that there are major differences in expected benefits across ethnic groups depending on the winning presidential candidate.