Public lecture by UN Special Rapporteur Mutuma Ruteree

Hosted by the South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Difference

The South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Difference in collaboration with the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a public lecture by Mutuma Ruteree, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. His lecture is titled 'Challenging xenophobia: Global perspectives on countering exclusion.'

Date: Thursday 23 July 2015

Time: 12:30 to 13:30

Venue: Humanities Graduate Seminar Room, Wits

» » »

Migration, urbanisation and health in southern Africa: Interdisciplinary conversations

ACMS, UCT and Penn State invite you to three public lectures, 27 - 29 July

ACMS, in partnership with Penn State and UCT, are hosting a workshop titled Migration, Urbanisation and Health in Southern Africa: Interdisciplinary conversations, 27 – 29 July.

As part of this workshop, three public lectures will be held which we invite the broader Johannesburg community to attend. Please note that the venues have changed since these seminars were first publicised. 

On Monday 27 July, 9:30 – 11, CB248, Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering, East Campus, Dr Sarah Charlton (CUBES, Wits) will be presenting ‘The ‘lived experience’ of low income housing: navigating housing dreams and real life in Johannesburg’.

On Tuesday, 28 July, 9 – 10:30, CB248, Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering, East Campus, Warren Smit (African Centre for Cities) will be presenting ‘Understanding health in urban environments in African cities: The case of Khayelitsha, Cape Town’. 

And on Wednesday, 29 July, 9 – 10:30, Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering, East Campus, Dr Lorena Nunez (Sociology, Wits) will be presenting ‘Mobility, healing and the city: Urban and sacred experiences in post-apartheid South Africa’.

More information about these lectures and the workshop in general can be found at .

» » »

ACMS and Lawyers for Human Rights launch report revealing rampant corruption within South Africa’s asylum system

The report contains key research findings on corruption with particular reference to the Department of Home Affairs' five refugee reception offices

The report, which was released today, found that there were significant levels of corruption at various stages of the asylum process. In particular, the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees indicate corruption is a very real problem at the refugee reception offices. Access, documentation, status, and renewals are all linked to payment, as are many other services tied to the asylum process. Moreover, as inefficiencies in the system increase, both the opportunities for and the need to acquiesce to corruption increase. In many cases, individuals are left with the choice of paying or remaining undocumented.

Read the report here: Queue Here for Corruption - Measuring Irregularities in South Africa's Asylum System

» » »

2nd SAYAS Symposium on Science and Society in Africa

Fact, Fiction and Media: Re-imagining science engagement and its impact

Cape Town 28-29 Sept 2015 

There is a need for broader societal engagement with important research findings and developments across scientific disciplines: natural, social and medical sciences, arts and humanities. Channels for converting patentable knowledge into profitable products are the focus of considerable investment, as are ways for translating beneficial knowledge into public initiatives or policies. For example, the significance of the discovery of a prehistoric fish, or the implications of the findings of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) observatory in the South Africa’s Karoo region, are often unknown to the public despite, scientific projects of this kind being substantially supported by public funds. 

» » »

Unease evoked by different immigrant groups: How self-monitoring reduces cultural and economic threat

Lunchtime seminar Tuesday 21 July 12:30 - 13:30 Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering


The African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar presented by Dr Didier Ruedin (ACMS, Wits and University of Neuchatel, Switzerland) titled Unease evoked by different migrant groups: How self-monitoring reduces cultural and economic threat.

Date:    Tuesday 21 July 2015

Time:    12:30 to 13:30

Venue: Humanities Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering Building, East Campus, Wits University

» » »

Hear ACMS at LHR's Refugee and Migrant Rights Seminar

Wed 22 July 2015 at the Chalsty Centre, School of Law, West Campus, Wits

Time: 9:00 to 15:30

Venue: Chalsty Centre, School of Law, West Braamfontein Campus, Wits University


The African Centre for Migration & Society's Loren Landau, South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Difference, and Jean Pierre Misago, researcher, will be participants on three panels at next week's annual 'Refugee and Migrant Rights Seminar' presented by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) as part of the annual Public Interest Law Gathering

» » »

ACMS's Loren Landau is quoted in article by Africa Check on inflated migration figures

Africa Check publishes an article showing that the New York Times relied on a plagiarised journal article

In a very important article published this week by Africa Check, New York Times & others STILL wrong on number of immigrants in S.Africa, they report how they asked the New York Times for proof of the figure of 5 million foreigners in South Africa they used in an article on xenophobic violence in April this year; and what they found when they investigated the evidence the New York Times cited.

Professor Loren Landau is quoted on why inflated immigrant numbers have staying power. “The first is confirmation bias. As people we best remember ‘facts’ and incidents that confirm what we believe. The second has to do with an odd and somewhat ironic alignment of interests. As things now stand, officials, business associations, and even some migrant associations and service providers benefit from these inflated numbers. Whether it is to justify militarising the border, explaining joblessness, or protecting businesses' interests, the more we feel threatened, the better.”

» » »

MA in Migration and Displacement

Applications are now invited


The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand is looking for graduate students who might be interested in undertaking an MA or PhD in Migration and Displacement in 2016.

The ACMS is an interdisciplinary, internationally engaged and intellectually independent Africa-based Centre that shapes global discourse on human mobility and social transformation. The MA programme is designed to give studnets the conceptual tools for understanding and analysing a wide range of topics in the field of migration. Our lecturers are widely published and have an impressive track record of innovative partnerships.

Based in the School of Social Sciences, migration and displacement is an interdisciplinary field encompassing a wide range of disciplines including economics, public health, political science, sociology, urban planning, and development studies. With migration being such an important and hotly-debated topic, its study has a wide-ranging academic and practical scope.

Through this programme graduate students are equipped with a comprehensive conceptual framework and the practical skills necessary to understand, analyse and advise on the drivers, impacts and management of migration within academia, government and the NGO world. Our alumni have succeeded in the public and private sectors, as well as local and international civil society and the academy.

ACMS enrolls a maximum of 25 MA students each year from various academic backgrounds and countries. As part of the programme, students learn how to critically engage with the complex issues surrounding migration and displacement. Students are strongly encouraged to partake in the Centre’s research activities, and are frequently invited to publish and present on their work done as part of this programme.

The MA (coursework and research) programme can either be undertaken full time for a year or part time over two years and consists of three courses and a research report. Compulsory courses include an Introduction to Migration & Displacement and the Logics and Methods of Migration Research.  A third elective can be chosen from the School; electives run by the Centre include The psychosocial & health consequences of migration & displacement (SOSS 7027), Labour migration in a global & regional context (SOSS 7062), and Migration and human rights (SOSS 7077).

PhD applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Although the Centre cannot promise funding for all students, there are several scholarship and assistantship opportunities every year that students are encouraged to apply for.  In addition, the University runs a Postgraduate Merit Award system that will provide funding to cover fees to successful applicants.

A compilation of bursaries for Wits students can be found here.

Additional information about for applicants can be found here

The deadline for MA applications for 2016 is 31 August 2015. The deadline for Postgraduate Merit Award applications is the 31st October -

More information can be found at and questions should be directed to

*Photo taken by Jo Vearey

**Please feel free to download and distribute our posters acms-teaching-posters-2.jpg

» » »

ACMS at SASA Congress 2015

Three of our postgraduate students will be presenting at SASA next week


ACMS graduate students, Janet Munakamwe, Dostin Lakika and Thea de Gruchy, will be attending the South African Sociological Association’s annual congress next week, 28 June to 1 July, which is themed ‘Contours of Violence: Manifestations, Interventions and Social Justice’. The conference will take place at the University of Johannesburg.

Both Dostin Lakika and Janet Munakamwe will be presenting research undertaken as part of their current PhD research; ‘“Refugees in South Africa would have gone crazy, what keeps them going is their faith”: Exploring the impact of religious beliefs in the healing process of Congolese refugees in South Africa’ and ‘Zamazama livelihood strategies and resistance to police brutality in the West Rand area, Johannesburg’, respectively;  while Thea de Gruchy will be presenting ‘A precarious migrant class in South Africa: State agenda or accident?’ drawing on research done as part of her MA at ACMS.

» » »

ACMS will be participating in the Gendered Dimensions of Migration Conference

30 June - 2 July 2015 Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

ACMS researchers and communications staff will be participating in the Migrating out of Poverty Research Policy Consortium's  Gendered Dimensions of Migration conference taking place later this month at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore.

The times of ignoring women and girls’ encounter with migration as migrants in their own right and as active members of communities engaged in migratory livelihood practices have gone. In both policy and research circles changes in migration flows have generated profound attention to gendered and generational patterns of migration and to changes in these patterns. Empirical research has since helped enrich the ways in which gendered dimensions of migration are conceptualised and how this may impact policy. Important insights hail from research documenting gender differences in the ability to migrate, the feminisation of certain types of migration, and linkages between labour and mobility regimes impacting migrants and their home communities in complex and often gendered ways.

This conference brings together scholars and policy-makers focusing on the material and social linkages between gender and labour migration in the global South. Twenty carefully chosen research-based contributions will explore how notions of gender and age appropriate activities and comportment shape migratory projects and their outcomes, and how migration affects relationships between women and men and between parents and their sons and daughters. Two policy roundtables aim to facilitate dialogue between researchers and policy advisers by linking the latest research findings to current interventions and the lessons learned in organisations working with migrants.

» » »