Abstract

African youth in cities, often overlooked by national governments, civil society members and international actors, comprise one of the keys to lasting peace in post‐war Africa. This paper connects African refugees to two demographic trends that are reshaping the continent: urbanization and Pentecostalism. Drawing on research on refugees, urban migration and religion in Africa, the author argues that young, male refugee youth are surfacing as prominent contributors to dramatic change across Africa. The case of Burundi refugees in Dar es Salaam is used both to illuminate these issues and to consider the impact of fear, sub‐ethnic rivalry and genocidal violence on refugee youth, the mechanics of hiding, state opposition to urban migration and urban youth culture. The author concludes that understanding and recognizing the dynamic role of refugee and other alienated, mobile urban youth as catalysts for transformation is an essential step in the development of peaceful, civil, and truly inclusive post‐war African societies.

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