This course explored the various social, economic and political dynamics associated with migration in South Africa. As international debates, events and politics increasingly focus on issues surrounding immigration in Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East, this course examined how they have played out and have mattered in various and contentious ways in South Africa; a key political and economic state in Africa, yet one that has had a strong tradition of seeing itself as an exception to the rest of the continent. From its colonial founding in the seventeenth century to the massive scale of labour migration from within southern Africa to the expanding South African mining and agricultural industries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from the governing logics of its apartheid period (1948-1994) based on racialized and ethnicized population control to increased immigration from across Africa, xenophobic violence, and visceral debates around citizenship, jobs, and international relations in the post-apartheid period, migration has been a central component to the cultural politics of the economies, institutions, and politics of South Africa. This course explored some of these histories and their traces and contours in the lives, economic livelihoods and social geographies of contemporary South Africa, including the impact of African migration on national identity formation and the politics of belonging within South Africa, particularly in terms of South Africa as an African nation.
Through lectures by the Canadian professor and South African and South African-based academics, policy experts, artists, activists and practitioners as well as site visits, the students richly learnt about economic, historical, policy and social dimensions of issues surrounding migration.
This course was based at the ACMS, the leading research and policy centre on international migration in southern Africa. Trips to South African border zones with Mozambique and Zimbabwe were also planned. Both Carleton and Wits students jointly shared in this learning experience.