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Survival Strategies of Africa Migrants in The Former Transkei A case study of Cameroonians, Ghanaians and Nigerians in Mthatha.

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Presentation on theme: "Survival Strategies of Africa Migrants in The Former Transkei A case study of Cameroonians, Ghanaians and Nigerians in Mthatha."— Presentation transcript:

1 Survival Strategies of Africa Migrants in The Former Transkei A case study of Cameroonians, Ghanaians and Nigerians in Mthatha

2 Outline  Background  Study Area and Methodology  Review  Discussions  Conclusions and Recommendations

3 Background  As Immigrants continue to enter South Africa, some earlier and recent immigrants already in the country begin to migrated into rural areas to secure their survival.  Since 2000, large influxes of immigrants from big cities to Mthatha  Even though the province is among the least attractive destination for foreigners.  Since the early 90s, the informal economy has risen significantly  The majority of its entrepreneurs are foreigners.

4 Background(cont.)  Nkwa (2007) notes that immigrants come to Mthatha in search for employment, better wages and to escape from persecution and violence from their previous places of residence.  Yet African migrants in Mthatha face many challenges and hence a need to survive.  The focus of this paper is to investigate their survival strategies in Mthatha.

5 Categories of foreign Migrants 1.Earlier foreign migrants  Those who arrived in Mthatha between 1990 and the year 2005.  Already established in their socio-economic endeavours  Have legal Documentation and a rented place of their own to stay.

6 Earlier foreign migrants (cont.)  Run their own small scale businesses and/or working in an established organisation  Can speak the local language fluently  Have established complex social networks with the locals.

7 Categories of foreign Migrants (cont.) 2. Recent foreign migrants  Entered Mthatha after the year 2005.  Do not have a place of their own to stay  Unemployed or self-employed and actively looking for employment  Struggling to regularise their documentation

8 Recent foreign migrants (cont.)  Can barely speak the local language  Loose social networks with the locals  Strong attachments with earlier foreign migrants

9 Immigrants’ Experiences in Mthatha  Not different from others elsewhere in South Africa  Foreign migrants face similar adversities  Experience deplorable treatment from state agencies, organisations, communities  Suffer from acute discrimination and xenophobic tendencies  Similar reports of discrimination, harassments and violence against foreigner nationals like elsewhere in South Africa  Some examples

10 Notable Examples of News Paper Reports “foreign mum and baby gunned down’, ‘foreign shops looted’, ‘foreign national killed’, ‘…believes foreigners are bad for South Africa’, ‘foreign man stabbed to death’  “xenophobic” violence that has been stalking Gauteng has spread to the Eastern Cape and the Free State Patel (2013).  Attacks against foreign nationals in KwaZakhele & New Brighton in Port Elizabeth, left several shops looted and burnt  Due to the level of xenophobic violence, police had to relocate some of the foreign nationals to temporary shelters (Human Rights Watch of 21 Jan 2014).  Hence a need for Foreign migrants to devise strategies for survival in Mthatha.

11 Study Area  Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.  Mthatha was the capital town of the former Transkei  The main town of the King Sabata Danlindyebo Local Municipality (KSD)  Population of about 120,000 with 55% younger than 20 years  The town is along the N2 road, 250 Km from East London and about 177 Km to Kokstad. Reasons for the choice of Mthatha 1.The District Municipality is the poorest in the Eastern Cape 2.High percentage number of people living in poverty 3.About 11.8% of its households without any form of income 4.Unemployment rate a high of 65.5%,

12 Study Area (cont.) 5. Literacy rate of only 42%. 6. Experiencing high in flocks of African migrants. 7. Not much research has been conducted to find out the survival strategies of African immigrants in smaller towns around the country.

13 Study Area (cont.) The study immigrants form a minority group which generally faces prejudice and discrimination in their communities.  The choice of Mthatha, a much smaller town in a typical rural region in the province will add to the limited empirical referents on immigrants’ survival strategies in non- cosmopolitan cities

14 Study Methodology  Both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies  Techniques include: Questionnaires, Observations, Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews  But a more qualitative approach was adopted  150 opened-ended questionnaires were administered  Snowball sampling was used to facilitate the identification of respondents  Focus group discussion, in-depth interviews and observations were conducted (places of work, homes and their social gatherings).  Data analyzed using excel  Findings presented in tables, charts and diagrams

15 Literature Review  Abundance of literature on immigrants’ survival strategies in South Africa (e.g. Petkou, 2005; 2010).  Not much has been done in rural areas of South Africa  Much of what has been done is focus on urban immigrants as crime perpetrators, immigrants as entrepreneurs and better than those from SADC countries, and/or immigrants as drug dealers and in prostitution.

16 Literature Review (cont.)  Previous and recent literature focus on urban immigrants with similar patterns of survival  In Johannesburg for example, studies show that because of discrimination and xenophobia, immigrants used various strategies to adapt themselves to the prevailing situation.  Strategies include: bogus documentation, adopting the social culture, forming social organisations, engaging into marriages of convenience, learning the local language, opening up small scale businesses and others engaging in activities beyond the margins of the law.

17 Literature Review (cont.)  Studies elsewhere have shown that, discriminated immigrants with the ambitions of improving their lifestyles, developed an economic consciousness, which act as a motivating factor for profit making (MacGaffey and Bazenguissa-Ganga 2000).  acquiring legal documentation is crucial for immigrants’ survival in South Africa hence, many immigrants who entered the country

18 Literature Review (cont.) with visitors visa apply for Asylum Seeker permits which give them the right to stay and look for employment (Mluleki, (2003).  Others conspired with corrupt officials to secure legal documentation (Yawlui, 2009).  Studies have identified the formation of social organisations as survival strategy (Muzondidya, 2008; Mluleki, 2003; McDonald et al, 2002; Ojong, 2007).  Learning the local languages (Yawlui, 2009; Mluleki, 2003; Nkwa, 2008; Ojong, 2007)  Adopting the South Africa dressing and hair styles (Nkwa, 2008).

19 Literature Review (cont.)  Little empirical referent exist which discusses the survival strategies of foreign migrants in rural South Africa.  This study form an addition to that gap  Yet to know if African immigrants in Mthatha pursue similar strategies like urban immigrants in South Africa  If not, then it creates new grounds for comparative study  Studies indicate the absence of original and up-to-date empirical data on migration patterns in the Eastern Cape Province

20 Literature Review (cont.)  But, two broad patterns of migration can be observe in the province. 1. Movement of people from one part of the province to others 2.Movement of people from the Eastern Cape to other provinces (Makiwane and Chimere-Dan, 2010).  Golooba-Mutebi & Tollman (2004) observe similarly that, many refugees have consciously refrained from going to live or work in urban areas where living costs are high.  They have opted to live in rural areas because of the opportunities for livelihood diversification and the wider scope for securing support when in difficulties.

21 Literature Review (cont.)  Studies have also shown that the pattern of internal migration in the province is a pressing development challenge: “large volumes of people move to other parts of the country and other parts of the province in ways that on balance do not encourage broad-based development of the province” (Makiwane and Chimere-Dan, 2010: 101).  International migration into the province has not been a major policy challenge  White emigration and brain drain have been observed as some of the potential undesirable outcomes since 1994: But there is a possible reverse migration  Amongst these reverse migrants are foreign migrants who would take advantage of the prevailing gaps caused by out migration and brain drain in the province.

22 Literature Review (cont.)  Wundow (2011) study in Mthatha reported similar findings with studies conducted in urban South Africa.  Namely, acquiring legal documentation, organising marriages of convenience, learning the local languages and adopting the social culture  For Golooba-Mutebi & Tollman (2004), Mozambican refugees in rural South Africa have managed to move on from initial short-term survival strategies to achieve long-term livelihoods. 1.For one reason or another depend on their own ingenuity 2.Take advantage of freedom of movement in the country to search for places of permanent settlement. 3.Relatively stabled previous immigrants paved the way for new comers and played an important role in looking for paid employment at their own places of work.

23 Literature Review (cont.) 4. Survival was ensured by the combined efforts of the Gazankulu government, churches, charitable organizations, local villagers and, in some cases, the refugees’ own efforts. 5. But time, and as resources dwindled, immigrants start to practice subsistence agriculture and animal husbandry 6. Others work in the commercial farming sector either as seasonal or permanent labourers 7. Others in formal and informal non-agricultural activities 8. mining and construction, petty trading, commuter taxi owners, domestic services and traditional medicine. 9. Others acquired citizenship through marriages with South Africans 10. Others Bribe civil servants or paying South Africans to claim them as relatives.

24 Findings and Discussion of Results  Ages of respondents: 15 and 54 years old  But, the majority between 30 and 39 years old (63%)  Males (65%) Females (35%)  Christians (80%) Muslims (16%) Atheists (4%)  72% speak English and only 2% could not speak the English language.  Up to 92% can speak some amount of IsiXhosa and IsiZulu  All the study immigrants have had formal education (Table 1 below)

25 Table 1: Educational Status of Foreign Migrants Level of EducationN% Secondary school Certificate.117% Diploma2426% Higher national diploma1913% Bachelor’s degree9453% Postgrad (Masters) Degree021% Total150100

26 Findings and Discussion of Results (cont.)  Others have upgraded their educational status  30% have obtained higher diplomas  20% honours degrees  5% masters degrees: (“the only way to get a job is to get their certificate”).  45% were teachers  Rest were employed or self-employed as (Street vendors, Tailors, beauty salons, Electricians, motor-Mechanics, Computer technicians, restaurant owners, bar services).

27 Findings and Discussion of Results (cont.)  4% of the study immigrants claimed that they are unemployed.  60% were single and 40% were married with children.  56% were married to South Africa and 44% married to same nationality with their wives.  Earlier Foreign migrants in the study constitute 45%  Recent foreign migrants were 55% of the total.

28 Findings and Discussion of Results (cont.)  Majority came from Major cities as shown in Table 2 below. Table 2: Previous Residence in South Africa Previous ResidenceN% Johannesburg4329 Cape Town3221 Durban2819 Pretoria107 Pietermaritzburg53 Port Elizabeth75 East Landon32 Form Home Country2214 Total150100

29 Livelihood Strategies of Foreign Migrants  Obtaining Legal Documentation  Engaging in Small family gardens  Small business endeavours (internet café, small shops, restaurants, beauty salons, etc.)  Learning the local languages  Adapting to the social lifestyle (dressing and hair styles, walking etc.)

30 Livelihood Strategies of Foreign Migrants (cont.)  Organising Social get together (organisations)  Social Interactions with South Africans  Creating a Strong Social Network  Growing a large family  Organising Part-time work (teaching )

31 Conclusions  Survival strategies of foreign migrants in Mthatha are to some extend similar to those of urban migrants elsewhere in the country.  Studies elsewhere have identified the strong educational background of African Immigrants in the country  Small business endeavours, adapting to the lifestyle, creating social organisations and strong social networks are similar survival practices of urban migrants elsewhere.

32 Conclusions (cont.)  Other practices observed in this study appears to be more livelihood strategies than just survival strategies. These include: 1.Obtaining legal documentation 2.Engaging in small family farms/gardens 3.Learning the local language 4.Increasing the family size

33 Recommendations  Equal accessibility to education especially to children of foreign migrants in the country  Educate the community and officials dealing with foreign immigrants to respect and uphold the the constitutional provision which carters for the rights of all who live in South Africa including that of immigrants  Open up more opportunities and facilities for foreign migrants to boost up the local economy  Support business endeavours of foreign migrants to curb down high unemployment in the region  Encourage the revisiting of immigration policies in the country

34 Recommendations (cont.)  Create structures that monitor and sanction defaulters of human rights especially with foreign migrants  Encourage foreign migrants to live and consider South Africa as a home. In this way, local development will improve  Continue the fight against discrimination and xenophobia in the country.  Accommodate and assimilate immigrants especially in areas of employment and education.  See the presence of foreign migrants as an opportunity rather than a problem.

35 Thank You Dr. CL Petkou Department of Sociology and Population Development Studies, WSU Mthatha


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