The Making of a Southern Diaspora: South- South Migration and Zimbabweans in South Africa

  • Jonathan CrushEmail author
  • Abel Chikanda
  • Godfrey Tawodzera
Part of the Global Migration Issues book series (IOMS, volume 5)


Diasporas are increasingly viewed as a vital untapped development resource by governments in the global South. As a result, strategies and programmes for diaspora engagement in development are very much on the global migration and development agenda. However, debates about the actual and potential role of diasporas in development are characterized by a striking myopia that tends to view diasporas from the South as located primarily or exclusively in the global North. The case of Zimbabwe is particularly interesting in this regard. The country has been a major global migrant source country for the last two decades as the economic and political crisis in a once well-managed state deepened. Though their lives and status in South Africa remain precarious, they are carving out lives and livelihoods and building social networks in a hostile land. What we are witnessing, therefore, is the act of creation of a diaspora as migration shifts from being temporary and circular in nature to being more diverse and permanent or semi-permanent. Under the current political dispensation in Zimbabwe, most members of the diaspora are likely to confine their engagements to family and personal matters and avoid engagement overtures from the Zimbabwean government. That said, Zimbabweans in South Africa increasingly identify with the notion that they are members of a diaspora and are starting to form associations and organize themselves to pursue a range of diaspora activities.


Informal Economy South African Government South African City African Migrant African Diaspora 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Crush
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Abel Chikanda
    • 3
  • Godfrey Tawodzera
    • 4
  1. 1.Balsillie School of International AffairsWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Geography and African & African American StudiesUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesUniversity of LimpopoSovengaSouth Africa

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