Labour Migration in Contemporary South Africa and Its Negative Effect on the Livelihoods of Families in the North West Province

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Kearabetswe MOKOENE, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Internal labour migration is a historical livelihood strategy for mostly African household as they attempt to address unemployment and everyday survival. Through interviews with 20 members of families in Madibeng in the North West Province, South Africa, this paper shows that even though labour migration is an important avenue for household livelihoods it has negative effects on already existing livelihoods and especially on the composition and well-being of families. Migration creates multiple challenges for households and families. For some, migration means children growing with absent fathers and in some cases absent mothers for long stretches of time. Grandparents especially grandmothers end up taking up more responsibility for the survival of families or migrants.  Again, children in such families are often faced with long periods of residential instability as they are moved from one household to another, child headed households, child labour etc. (Chuong, 2012:43).  This is a problem that contributes to an unstable and volatile society. In other cases labour migration means the family left behind faces higher levels of poverty and thus has to find other livelihood strategies while still waiting for remittances.