Refugees Find Peace and Solace Through Sport in Resettlement Communities in Africa and Its Diaspora

By: Jepkorir Rose Chepyator Thomson   Katja Sonkeng  

Sport has been used an instrument to welcome refugees and to resettle them efficiently in new communities. The refugee crisis is precipitated by human predicaments that bring about inequalities along the lines of ethnicity and economics. The theoretical perspectives guiding the analysis of refugees in Africa and its diaspora include the world system and new economics of migration theories. The purpose of this study was to examine how sport influences refugees’ migration and lives in resettlement communities and to offer theoretical and practical ways to abate weaknesses and limitations, focusing on refugees in Africa and its diaspora. Method of examination was through comparative analysis of sport for refugees programs in global context using sport-based websites and through individual refugees’ and organizations’ attestations. The findings of the study indicate global south-north movement of refugees to be partly due to economic factors, with world system theory helping account for this northern migration. The new theory of economics further explains the collective method of decision-making, a socialist based perspective, where collectivity is a method of survival. The findings indicate extensive benefits that the refugees gained from sports programs: formation of solidarity among new members in the refugee community, development of new friendships and enjoyment celebratory activities of cultural significance with others of similar backgrounds, adaptation to cultures of the host country which allowed for easy access to amenities of survival. Sport became a solace in the face of extreme hardships for refugees in Africa and its diaspora.

refugees, sport, immigrants, new theory of economics, Wallerstein world theory.
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Jepkorir Rose Chepyator Thomson

Professor, Kinesiology, University of Georgia, United States
United States

Katja Sonkeng

PhD student, University of Georgia, United States
United States