Title page for ETD etd-03022004-111426

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Nkau, Dikeledi Johanna
URN etd-03022004-111426
Document Title Cross-border migration to South Africa in the 1990s : the case of Zimbabwean women
Degree MA (Demography)
Department Demography
Advisor Name Title
K Naidoo
  • female migrants moved from Zimbabwe
Date 2003-03-06
Availability unrestricted
The focus of this study is female migrants who moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa in the 1990s. The main purpose of the study is to explore the reasons for this move and the consequences of their migration. More specifically, the study has three objectives. The first objective is to examine the reasons why many women migrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa in the 1990s. The second objective is to establish ways in which the migration of Zimbabwean women has changed their lives. The third objective is to consider the impact that their migration has had on their families in Zimbabwe.

Although rooted in the demographic tradition, this study uses qualitative methodology. A semi-structured in-depth method was used to interview twenty-one Black Zimbabwean women found in the Lindela repatriation camp and in the Limpopo province.

The findings revealed that the economic and socio-political situation in Zimbabwe compelled women to use migration as a strategy to sustain their families. Some of the participants were actively engaged in the trading of knitted work, woodwork and other commodities in South Africa. Others were found in different occupations such as street vending, domestic services and other menial jobs. In their migration to South Africa, the Zimbabwean women redefined the stereotypes of women as inert, passive and dependent and showed the self-reliance, resourcefulness and assertiveness of women who opted to migrate. While education was perceived to be expensive, participants needed finances to educate their children. In addressing the conditions under which migration occurred, the findings showed that some participants moved on their own, and others moved as part of the family. Finally, participants had gained control over their economic, social and familial lives though they remained within the boundaries of their normative roles.

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