Factors underlying the decision to move and choice of destination

Olaleye, Oluwole (2000-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The migratory flow of Africans to South Africa form the north of Africa was restrained until the early 1990's. Before this period the political ideology of apartheid discriminated against African immigrants, while favouring the migration of people of European descent. Although numerous studies have drawn attention to the implications of the influx of African immigrants to South Africa and their socio-economic adaptation, not much research has been done on reasons for international migration as provided by the migrant. The demographic and economic implications of African migration not only dominate most of the work in this field, but it even seems to be the only concern of researchers investigating international immigration of Africans. The study focuses on factors underlying the decision of African immigrants to migrate to South Africa and who choose Cape Town as their place of destination. Data from in-depth interviews are analysed to determine the motivations for migration to Cape Town. Attention is being paid to the circumstances in the migrants' home countries that motivated their decision to emigrate, the role of social networks in providing information regarding the choice of destination and migration routes, the obstacles they encountered, their adaptation in Cape Town and their perceptions of Cape Town as a place of permanent residence. From the literature review on reasons for migration, is emerges that there are two dominant theoretical approaches (i.e. macro and micro theories) for explaining why international migration begins. The macro theories focus on migration stream, identifying the conditions under which large-scale movements take place and describing the demographic, economic and social characteristics of the migrants in aggregate terms. Micro theories focus on the socio-psychological factors that differentiate migrants from non-migrants, together with theories of motivation, decision-making, satisfaction and identification. Although each theory ultimately seeks to explain the same phenomenon, they employ different concepts, assumptions and frames of reference. The various explanations offered are not necessarily contradictory in nature but are, in fact, a reflection of how social realities could be studied and understood from various angles. This study employs an eclectic approach by using insights from both macro and micro levels of analysis. The study also considers the appropriateness of a qualitative research design in researching specific aspects of migration and employs a qualitative case study method. This method allows for a deeper reflection on the part of the individual on factors responsible for their decision to move. Semi-structured in-depth interviews have been conducted with four African immigrants in the central business district of Cape Town. The study found that in certain instances the immigrants migrate for different reasons, but under similar circumstances. It emerged from the case material that the same issues sometimes hold different significance for each migrant. One aspect shared by all four immigrants, is that it seems that circumstances in their countries of origin forced them to move and that they did have much of a choice - their lives were threatened. Their relatively high level of training and access to funding most probably assisted them in their move. Those people in not such a favourable position are left behind. The study also found that exchange and free flow of information and social networks directs destination of movement, rather than determine whether migration takes place. However, the information immigrants receive is not always correct and tends not to focus on the negative aspects of immigration. Once in Cape Town the immigrants felt isolated, experienced prejudice, and suffered hostility and discrimination at the hands of South Africans. It appears that many South Africans do not distinguish between asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants. The common denominator of their "foreignness" appears to be all that is necessary for many to harbour negative attitudes. Xenophobia not only manifests itself in negative attitudes, but also increasingly in victimisation against the immigrants. Because of these factors and the problems they experience in finding jobs where they can apply their skills, the immigrants indicated that they do not intend staying permanently in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die migrasie van inwoners van die noorde van Afrika na Suid-Afrika was tot die vroeë 1990s relatief beperk. Voor hierdie tydperk het die politieke ideologie van apartheid gediskrimineer teen inwoners van die res van Afrika, terwyl die migrasie van Europeërs aangemoedig is. Alhoewel verskeie studies die aandag gevestig het op die sosio-ekonomiese aanpassing en die implikasies van die invloei van immigrante uit Afrika na Suid- Afrika, bestaan daar weinige navorsing oor die redes vir internasionale migrasie soos verskaf deur die migrant self. Die demografiese en ekonomiese implikasies van immigrasie domineer nie slegs die meeste van die werk in hierdie verband nie, maar blyk ook die enigste besorgdheid te wees van navorsers wat die internasionale migrasie van Afrikane bestudeer. Die studie fokus op onderliggende faktore wat immigrante uit Afrika motiveer om na Suid-Afika te immigreer en Kaapstad as bestemming kies. Data van indiepte onderhoude word ontleed ten einde die motiverings vir migrasie na Kaapstad vas te stel. Aandag word gegee aan die omstandighede in die migrante se lande van oorsprong, die rol van sosiale netwerke in die verskaffing van inligting oor die keuse van 'n bestemming en migrasieroetes, die struikelblokke langs die pad, hulle aanpassing in Kaapstad en hulle persepsies oor Kaapstad as 'n permanente bestemming. Dit blyk uit die literatuuroorsig oor redes vir migrasie dat daar twee dominante teoretiese benaderings (makro en mikro benaderings) vir die verduideliking van internasionale migrasie bestaan. Die makro benaderings fokus op migrasiestroom en identifiseer die omstandighede waaronder grootskaaaise bewegings plaasvind en beskryf ook die demografiese, ekonomiese en sosiale eienskappe van die migrante in groepsverband. Daar teenoor fokus mikro teorieë op die sosiaal-sielkundige faktore wat migrante van nie-migrante onderskei, tesame met teorieë oor motivering, besluitneming, bevrediging en identifikasie. Alhoewel elke teorie uiteindelik dieselfde verskynsel verduidelik, word verskillende konsepte, aannames en verwysingsraamwerke toegepas. Hierdie studie gebruik 'n eklektiese benadering waarin insigte uit beide mikro- en makrovlak ontledings gebruik word. Die studie oorweeg ook die geskiktheid van 'n kwalitaitiewe navorsingsontwerp vir die bestudering van spesifieke aspekte van migrasie en maak gebruik van 'n kwalitatiewe gevallestudie metode. Die metode fasiliteer 'n dieper refleksie van individue betreffende die faktore wat bygedra het tot hulle besluit om te migreer. Semi-gestruktureerde indiepte onderhoude is met vier immigrante gevoer. Daar is vasgestel dat immigrante oor verskillende redes migreer, maar onder dieselfde omstandighede. Uit die materiaal van die gevallestudies blyk dit dat dieselfde kwessies partykeer uiteenlopende betekenis vir elke migrant het. Een aspek wat deur al vier immigrante gedeel word, is die feit dat omstandighede in hulle lande van herkoms hulle forseer het om te migreer - hulle lewens is bedreig. Hulle . relatiewe hoë opleidingspeil en toegang tot fondse het hulle heel waarskynlik daartoe in staat gestelom te trek. Diegene in 'n minderbevoorregte posise het agtergebly. Die studie bevind ook dat die uitruil en vrye vloei van inligting en sosiale netwerke eerder die plek van bestemming bepaal as om die besluit om te migreer beïnvloed. Dit blyk egter dat die inligting wat immigrante ontvang soms verkeerd is en nie op die negatiewe aspekte van migrasie fokus nie. Wanneer die immigrante eers in Kaapstad is, voel hulle geïsoleerd, ervaar hulle vooroordeel, vyandigheid en diskriminasie van Suid-Afrikaners. Dit wilook voorkom asof baie Suid-Afrikaners nie 'n onderskeid tref tussen asielsoekers, vlugtelinge en ekonomiese migrante nie. Net die feit dat hulle vanaf 'n ander Afrika land afkomstig is, maak baie mense negatief teenoor hulle. Xenofobie manifesteer egter nie slegs in negatiewe ingesteldhede nie, maar daar is ook toenemende viktimisasie. Weens hierdie faktore en die probleme wat hulle ondervind om werksgeleenthede te vind waarin hulle hul vaardighede kan toepas, dra daartoe by dat immigrante Suid-Afrika nie as 'n permanente tuiste beskou nie.

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