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Farm Labour Struggles in Zimbabwe: The Ground of Politics

Book Launch and Discussion

The African Centre for Migration & Society and Humanities Graduate Centre are pleased to host Professor Blair Rutherford (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University), in discussion with Duduzile Ndlovu (ACMS, University of the Witwatersrand), Edmore Chitukutuku (Department of Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand) & Wellington Mvundura (Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand) for a launch of his new book Farm Labour Struggles in Zimbabwe: The Ground of Politics. In the early twentieth-first century, white-owned farms in Zimbabwe were subject to large-scale occupations by black urban dwellers in an increasingly violent struggle between national electoral politics, land reform, and contestations over democracy. Were the black occupiers being freed from racist bondage as cheap laborers by the state-supported massive land redistribution, or were they victims of state violence who had been denied access to their homes, social services, and jobs? Blair Rutherford examines the unequal social and power relations shaping the lives, livelihoods, and struggles of some of the farm workers during this momentous period in Zimbabwean history.

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Making it work (or not): Gendered mobility and differential governance of artisanal gold mining in Sierra Leone and Mozambique

23 May 2017

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Making it work (or not): Gendered mobility and differential governance of artisanal gold mining in Sierra Leone and Mozambique presented by Professor Blair Rutherford (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University). Over the last fifteen years, there has been increasing scholarly and policy attention on what is now commonly known as “artisanal and small-scale mining” (ASM) in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly with a focus on issues concerning governance, regulation, and economic returns. Drawing on ethnographic research in Tonkolili district, Sierra Leone, and Manica district, Mozambique over the last two years, this talk will examine how these processes of “formalization” intersect with the gendered movement and incorporation of labour in artisanal gold mining sites. 

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Immigration and Asylum in South Africa: Identifying New Policy and Advocacy Directions

17 May 2017

As you know, migrant rights are under threat globally: Donald Trump’s bans, the European Union’s adding bricks to its fortress, or Australia off-shoring asylum seekers. In South Africa, shifting policy directions and practices are threatening the rights and welfare of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants.  As civil society we have long – and unsuccessfully – struggled to ensure that every international migrant – regardless of legal status – is protected in South Africa. Heightening securitization, populism, and the forthcoming elections will only heighten our challenges. With support from the Open Society Foundation, the African Centre for Migration & Society hosted six dialogues in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg with the goal of developing novel and more effective strategies for promoting the rights and welfare of refugees, asylum seekers, international migrants and the often poor communities in which they live.  Many of you participated in one or more of those dialogues. We would like to invite you again for a workshop where we will present the results of our gatherings and deliberate on new ways forward.

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Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability

25 April 2017

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability presented by Didier Ruedin (University of Neuchâtel). While many countries across the world face increasing numbers of immigrants, the literature on attitudes to foreigners and immigrants focuses on Western countries. This paper tests broad insights from Western countries in a specific non-Western context; South Africa, a country marked by sporadic violence against some immigrant groups. Data from the 2013 South African Social Attitudes Survey and the 2013 World Value Survey are used to model attitudes to immigrants. In line with research on Western countries, individual personality is associated with differences in attitudes; people in vulnerable positions and those who lack a personal support mechanism are more likely to oppose immigrants. When implemented to reflect the specific context, research on attitudes to immigrants appears to generalize to non-Western contexts.

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‘Ghost Passports’: disembodiment, ethics of illegibility, and the negotiation of passage at the Beitbridge border of South Africa and Zimbabwe

21 April 2017

The African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a public seminar titled ‘Ghost Passports’: disembodiment, ethics of illegibility, and the negotiation of passage at the Beitbridge border of South Africa and Zimbabwe presented by Xolani Tshabalala (Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society, Linkoping University). ‘Ghost passports’ are passports whose holders enlist the services of third parties, such as private cross-border transporters – omalayitsha, and regular bus drivers, to take to the border post to get them ‘stamped’ on their behalf. Low- and semi-skilled Zimbabwean migrants seeking work and other opportunities in South Africa must contend with a migration regime that robustly restricts their movement into the country, although they do find opportunities for precarious, often undocumented, work within the country’s mining, agriculture, hospitality, domestic, informal and other sectors. For those without work permits, a regular feature of their continued stay and work in South Africa is to regularly travel to the country’s ports of entry, such as the Beitbridge border post, to negotiate more residence days on their passports.

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