Oral history project: Call for contributions from writers

Whose Country is it Anyway? Telling Transformation & Xenophobia

This project, coordinated by Loren Landau and Tanya Pampalone, will use oral history to explore the politics of mobility, difference and transformation among South Africa’s dynamic and diverse population.

Through both print and various digital formats, extended biographies will tell the stories of immigrants', migrants' and long-term residents’ struggles for physical and financial safety amidst tremendous precarity. In spaces where the government is frail or disinterested, access to land, housing, health and safety are increasingly negotiated outside of formal legal systems. It is in these spaces where battles for justice and rights now occur. This project will tell the stories of those in the fight. 

Through first person narratives and digital media, the project will explore the meaning of rights – as principle and practice – among populations whose voices are rarely heard. It will reveal the aspirations and ethics informing interactions across generational, social and international boundaries: how historical struggles shape contemporary perspectives and how those once persecuted and oppressed now exclude or incorporate ‘others’ within their communities. 

Find out more by downloading a PDF of the call for contributions document.

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ACMS is seeking a communications intern

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2016

ACMS is seeking a communications intern for three months next year via our partnership with the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium at the University of Sussex.

More information (including how to apply) is available here.

This internship would be of interest to a recent graduate wanting to combine their research interests in migration with obtaining some experience in research uptake work. Selection will be based on demonstrated experience and skills in the areas of work identified. 

The internship offers a modest living allowance for three months, as well as reimbursement of the cost of a direct airfare and pre-departure expenses for a successful applicant based in a province outside of Gauteng or from a foreign country.

South Africans and SADC citizens with permission to reside, study or work in South Africa are particularly encouraged to apply.

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Zine workshop

Since 2010, the MoVE Project at the ACMS has been involved in a range of collaborative visual and narrative research projects that seek to explore the lived experiences of migrant sex workers in South Africa.  These projects, such as Working the City, Volume 44 and Equal Airtime not only engage in robust research but also produce an 'artifact' that is shared with public audiences. 
This year, the MoVE team along with our central partner the Sisonke Sex Worker Movement- conceptualised two projects that aim to make the reproduction of materials more affordable.  The Open Society Foundation funded the MoVE Project in collaboration with Sisonke to conduct a Gauteng based newsletter project called, Izwi Lethu and two zine workshops in the rural provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. 
'Zines are self-published, small-circulation, often nonprofit books, papers, or websites. They usually deal with topics too controversial or niche for mainstream media, presented in an unpolished layout and unusual design. Everyone, from a major NGO to a teenager like you, can be an author (and also an editor, art director, and publisher) of a zine, and that’s part of what makes them so awesome.

Since the invention of the photocopy machine, zine-making has been one most popular forms of independent publishing, especially in underground communities. But it’s hard to generalize about zines, the same way it’s hard to generalize about culture. Not just hard—impossible. Because like all art and media, zines can be anything and everything. And they are'. lifted from here.

Please take a look at the Facebook album of the recently completed zine workshop held in Makhado, Limpopo with 13 participants from around the Province.  

The MoVe Team heads out to Nelspruit, Mpumalanga this Sunday (22 November) to conduct the last of the zine workshops for 2015.  The workshops take place over a course of two weeks and are facilitated by Elsa Oliveira and Quinten Williams.  Two participants from previous MoVE Projects conducted in collaboration with Sisonke support the facilitators and provide a crucial role in the process.  

An official exhibition where zines will be made available to the public will take place in early 2016.

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"We are all poets"

A week-long poetry workshop hosted by MoVE

LeConte Dill and Khosi Xaba facilitated a week-long poetry workshop exploring the lived experiences of LGBTIQ migrants and refugees in Johannesburg. The workshop involved participants from the Queer Crossings project with support from Gabriela Martínez Castillo, Elsa Oliveira, Thea de Gruchy, Lenore Longwe and Jo Vearey supported by MoVE method:visual:explore at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), Wits University, Johannesburg. A private exhibition was held on the last day of the workshop at Constitutional Hill where participants and facilitators celebrated the week's work during which each participant read their poems out loud.  An official exhibition and book launch that will include both the visual and narrative work produced with this group of people since 2014 will take place in the beginning of 2017.

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Izwi Lethu: Our Voice - Issues 6 and 7

September edition and Special Limpopo edition

Last month MoVE (Methods.Visual.Explore) published online two issues of Izwi Lethu: Our Voice, a newsletter by sex workers. The first one was the September edition in which all of its contributor articles were written by male or transgender women sex workers. It also highlighted the recent launch of the Asijiki coalition. 

The second one was a Special Limpopo edition which contains material from a reunion of the Volume 44 Project which was  a collaborative project undertaken by ACMS, the Sisonke Sex Worker Movement, and the Market Photo Workshop.

Each month, the newsletter features three articles by sex workers. These writers must participate in a three-day workshop prior to publication. The workshop, facilitated by Greta Schuler, provides instruction and feedback on writing and revising stories. The sex workers chose topics important to them to write about, whether personal stories or community events. At the end of the workshop, participants type their stories on computers and are invited to help with the layout and uploading onto social media of the newsletter. Throughout the workshops, participants are recorded reading their stories.

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Our MiWORC partnership releases research report on social security and social protection of migrants in South Africa and SADC

Report #8 and Policy Update #1

The MiWORC Team is pleased to announce the publication of MiWORC Report #8 Social security and social protection of migrants in South Africa and SADC and a policy update on Adoption of the SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework

The research conducted for MiWORC Report #8 took place under MiWORC's Work Package 4 on migrant workers and access to social rights and portability of social benefits in SouthAfrica and the region. The report was written by Bob Deacon, Marius Olivier and Reason Beremauro.

The policy update on the SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework reports on the adoption of this document in 2014 and has relevance to the recommendations made in Report #8 as well as Report #1 A region without borders? Policy frameworks for regional labour migration towards South Africa.

Printed copies of both the report and the policy update can be obtained upon request from the African Centre for Migration & Society at Wits University. Please email or phone 011-717-4033.

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Southern Specificity or Specious Separation: Perspectives from Southern Africa

by Loren B. Landau (South African Research Chair on Mobility and the Politics of Diversity, ACMS)

Prof Loren Landau, South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Difference at ACMS, has published the article linked here in Voices from around the World, which is published by the Global South Studies Center, Cologne.

He writes, "My conclusions are anything but conclusive or definite. Rather, they call for the complementary development of a conversation between Southern specificity and global theorizing. This can provide scholars and activists with the information they need to positively reform policies at the local or national level where it matters most.

It will also strengthen Southern scholars’ hand in affording them both invaluable local knowledge and the capacity to challenge, and potentially shape, global academic debate. Such an approach will demand a reconsideration of pedagogy and research epistemology, and a willingness to be both deductive and inductive in our concepts and causal inferences. Doing otherwise risks the political and theoretical gains for which we strive."

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MiWORC has completed online publication of a set of factsheets, policy briefs and policy updates

An essential resource for policymakers, NGOs and journalists

The Migrating for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC) team is pleased to announce the completion publication of a full set of policy briefs, factsheets and policy updates on migrating for work in South Africa. The first three cover labour migration data, regional labour migration policy frameworks, and statistical and econometric analyses of Stats SA's labour market data; the next four are summaries of sectoral research on foreign health professionals, domestic workers, farmworkers and hospitality workers; and the last is a policy update on the adoption by SADC in 2014 of a regional labour migration policy framework.


Fact Sheet #1 Labour migration by numbers: South Africa's foreign and domestic migration data

Policy Brief #1 A region without borders? Policy frameworks for regional labour migration towards South Africa

Policy Brief #2 Migration and employment in South Africa. Statistical and econometric analyses of internal and international migrants in Statistics South Africa's labour market data

Policy Brief #3 A disposable workforce: Foreign health professionals in the South African public service

Policy Brief #4 Getting the house in order: Precarity, migration and domestic work in South Africa 

Policy Brief #5 A bitter harvest: Migrant workers in the commercial agricultural sector in South Africa

Policy Brief #6 Making guests feel comfortable: Migrancy and labour in the hospitality sector in South Africa

Policy Update #1 Adoption of the SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework

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ACMS has moved offices!

We are now in Senate House in the south east wing on the second floor

ACMS has moved from our wonderful old home in the South West Engineering Building to our new spacious and fresh offices on the second floor of the south east wing of Senate House. We are still on Braamfontein East Campus.

All the departments and centres in the School of Social Sciences in the Faculty of Humanities are now near to each other in Central Block and Senate House.

We look forward to friends and colleagues visiting us in our new offices in the near future.

Our contact details remain:

+27 717 4033

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Soul Survivors: Mechanisms of Resilience among Urban Youth of Color in Oakland, Atlanta, and Brooklyn and Intersections with Johannesburg

Lunchtime seminar Tuesday 10 November 12.30-1.30 Graduate Seminar Room

The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) will present a lunchtime seminar by LeConte Dill (Department of Community Health Sciences, State University of New York) entitled 'Soul Survivors: Mechanisms of Resilience among Urban Youth of Colour in Oakland, Atlanta & Brooklyn & Intersections with Johannesburg’.

Date: 10 November

Time: 12:30 - 13:30

Venue: Graduate Seminar Room, Southwest Engineering Buildling, East Campus

Urban youth of color actively negotiate structural inequities, such as residential segregation, educational inequities, and neighborhood and sexual violence, on a daily basis. Extant frameworks that address youth and inequalities typically focus on risks and deficits among youth, and solely in their family and school contexts. This seminar considers the mechanisms available to and activated by urban youth of color to access neighborhood and community networks in order to buffer the systemic factors that have historically excluded them. Additionally, most of the theories about urban youth are based on studies of the male experience, and most of the gendered studies of urban violence focus on girls in gangs, without adequately explaining risk and protective factors of girls in general. This theory of “invisibility” impedes violence prevention and intervention efforts, and can only be mitigated if we gain a better understanding of the multiple contexts of urban girls’ lived experiences. Qualitative, participatory, and arts-based research studies based in Oakland, California, Atlanta, Georgia, and Brooklyn, New York will be highlighted to provide a deeper understanding of the multiple routes of resilience that African-American, Caribbean-American, and Latino youth in distressed neighborhoods enlist in order to get by, get ahead, survive, and ultimately pursue wellness. Thematic, population, and spatial intersections with Johannesburg will be explored.

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