When soliders become refugees: Surveillance and fear among Rwandan former soliders living in Cape Town, South Africa
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This study examines the fears of Rwandan army deserters who oppose President Kagame, of being found by the External Security Organisation (ESO), a Rwandan spy organisation meant to sniff them out wherever they are in exile: in this case Cape Town, South Africa. The army deserters are perceived as both a political and military threat to the survival of President Kagame. I argue that the fear of being hunted is a real threat which (re)produces 'militarised identities' as these former soldiers employ their military training skills to hide from the ESO in South Africa. In this I employ Foucault's (1977) concept of 'panopticism' to examine these army deserters' experiences of surveillance by the ESO and also Vigh's (2006) concept of 'social navigation' to understand how the army deserters 'scan' and manoeuvre the exile terrain. In substantiating the thesis argument, my study draws from six in-depth interviews and conversations with Rwandan army deserters living in Cape Town. It also made use of thematic analysis, drawing themes from the data on which it is based.