Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Migrancy, Markets and Survival: Transnational Lives in South African Space
by Oakes, John T., Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2014, 217; 3682543
Abstract (Summary)

When Apartheid ended in South Africa, so did many barriers to entry for other Africans who wished to migrate there. They came with business skills that locals lacked, having previously been barred from much of civic life, and quickly dominated in street trading. Two decades later, the lure of opportunity is still drawing millions of Africans to South Africa. The purpose of this study is to examine the obstacles and threats to livelihood that migrants encounter in South Africa, to understand the survival strategies they employ to combat these, along with the pressures from home, and to analyze the effects these strategies have on space at differing scales. This study utilized qualitative research methods and focused on migrant street traders in Greenmarket Square in the heart of Cape Town, South Africa. Migrants conveyed that they struggled with locals who exhibited high levels of xenophobia. They also struggled to understand and negotiate the South African Immigration bureaucracy, which is notoriously inefficient and sometimes corrupt. Lastly, migrants portrayed their relationships to home in complex terms, outlining both the benefits and costs, financial and emotional, of being linked transnationally to their home communities. Migrants are fond of home, but routinely feel negatively pressured to remit finances and struggle to maintain a place in the social order from afar. I conclude that migrants are exposed and at-risk, caught in between a context of poverty in the Global South and a tide of resentment, fear and stern migration policy in the Global North.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Myers, Garth A., Brown, Chris
Commitee: Egbert, Steve, Obadare, Ebenezer, Ojiambo, Peter, Slocum, Terry
School: University of Kansas
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African Studies, Geography
Keywords: Migration, Refugee, Remittance, Xenophobia
Publication Number: 3682543
ISBN: 978-1-321-56107-4
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