Who Are The Nigerians Living In South Africa?

Who are the Nigerians living in South Africa? Why are they flocking to South Africa? What are they doing here? And what are their plans?

To answer these questions, we first need to differentiate between the three types of Nigerians living in South Africa. It is important to note that the main differentiating factor between the three is their intention for relocating to South Africa. Based on this, we have formulated three categories of Nigerians living in South Africa, namely; the Globetrotters, the Professionals (Pros), and the Wanderers.

1. The Globetrotters – Widely traveled Nigerians

The Globetrotters are Nigerians living in South Africa who have travelled and/or lived in more developed countries such as the USA and UK.

Passport and bag of a globetrotter!

This category of Nigerians see South Africa as a rebound or Plan B! Having lived in a developed country, they have become accustomed to the comfort and convenience that comes with living in a developed country. As a result, they do not see themselves being able to cope with some of the harsh living conditions in Nigeria. Having had an uninterrupted supply of water and electricity, they can no longer tolerate not having either one of these regardless of how much they love their country. They see South Africa as the best of both Africa and the Western world. With its world-class infrastructure and relatively stable governance, South Africa is perfect for this category of Nigerians.

Image by Shutterbouy Photography

2. The Pros – Highly skilled Nigerian professionals

The Pros usually relocate to South Africa in pursuit of personal and career growth. These individuals are typically self motivated and have a solid plan for achieving success in their chosen career.

This category consists of highly skilled professionals such as doctors, project managers, academics, and masters/doctoral students.
As sought after professionals in their respective fields, they are good at their jobs and are in South Africa to advance their careers. Their goal for relocating to South Africa is to make a better living for themselves and their families. These talented Nigerian professionals love the African continent and are proud to be part of a thriving African country. They are attracted by the working systems and professional opportunities that South Africa presents to professionals. Their long term plans are to stay permanently in South Africa and to make a name for themselves while also developing the country and its people.

Nigerian doctors in South Africa

3. Wanderers – Nigerians who drift from one African country to another with the ultimate aim of settling in a developed country.

Wanderers see South Africa as a gateway/stepping stone/ or transit point to travel to a developed country.

This third category of Nigerians have no desire to officially settle in South Africa. They have their heart set on bigger and better countries and many of whom may have applied to or tried to obtain visas from the likes of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Wanderers spend months or even many years accumulating just enough funds to leave South Africa for ‘greener pastures’. They usually have no set career and are often self-employed e.g. hairdressers/ barbers and small shop owners.

Wandering Nigerian?

What do you think of our three categories of Nigerians living in South Africa? Do you agree or disagree? Please leave your comment below and see what happens! 🙂

Related Article: Tips to know before coming to South Africa from Nigeria

Akindele Olunloyo


I love travelling. I cherish my Lagos. And I adore my new home in Johannesburg. Lagostojozi Blog is my passion project which strives to promote cooperation, healthy relations and social cohesion between the people of these two great African megacities of Lagos and Johannesburg.


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