Low Income African Migrant Women and Social Exclusion in South Africa

by MAFUKIDZA, J and MBANDA, V, 2008
Agenda, 22:78, 172-185

The objective of this study was to understand how low-income African migrant women respond to socio-economic exclusion within South Africa so as to contribute to existing knowledge on women and migration. It examines the experiences of these women in relation to how these are influenced by and influence the structures and practices that exclude them. Structured and unstructured interviews and observation were the core qualitative techniques that were used to gather data in Thohoyandou (a settlement that straddles the rural-urban divide) and Pretoria (a metropolitan city). The data was thematically analysed and the findings suggest that migrant women experience both female specific and generally shared difficulties in gaining entry into the economic and social spheres. Their exclusion is exacerbated by labelling, prejudice and administrative decisions and impacts hard upon them due to their lowly socio-economic status. Furthermore, the findings also suggest that migrant women are innovative and resourceful and show a good understanding of the context in which they live.