This master thesis is a qualitative study examining female Zimbabwean migrant workers in Johannesburg. The aim of the thesis is to understand how these female migrants narratively construct meaning from their presence in a highly xenophobic context where locals see their presence as both an economic and social threat. In the midst of Zimbabwe’s escalating economic and political crisis numerous Zimbabweans, in particular women, have sought refuge and survival as well as prosperity in South Africa. Whereas South Africa for many Zimbabweans symbolises a heaven of safety and opportunities compared to the present state of their home country, life as a migrant in South Africa is for many an existence on the fringes of society both socially and economically. For many migrants the so-called rainbow nation offers little more than survival and a large dose of xenophobic and discriminatory experiences. The widespread xenophobia in South Africa is a complex phenomenon that draws upon a multitude of negative stereotypes about foreigners as well as negative ideas about the impact of their presence and ability to integrate. The popular attitude to Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa is particularly hostile due to notions of Zimbabweans flooding the country and thus depriving locals of jobs and social stability. To understand how the female Zimbabwean migrant workers narratively construct meaning in such a hostile environment the thesis focuses on both the women’s reasons for migrating and their use of narrative strategies that simultaneously oppose and neutralize the hostility they experience. The thesis concludes that despite socio-economic variety most of the women find their presence in Johannesburg meaningful because it has enabled them to sustain their family members in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, it is concluded that the women’s strategies for social and spatial action by and large are structured and defined by what in their narratives seems to be an omnipresent xenophobia. As a means of dealing with these physical and social restrains the women have developed a range of narrative strategies of resistance that make their presence meaningful and symbolically defiant.
|Uddannelser||Internationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat|
|Udgivelsesdato||1 sep. 2008|