The dynamics of Francophone African migration to Cape Town after 1994

Lekogo, Rodolf E. (2008-03)

Thesis (DPhil (Sociology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate a group of Francophone African migrants in Cape Town during the decade following the end of the apartheid era. The focus of the thesis, however, is on the reasons why French-speaking Africans leave their countries of origin, the reasons for coming to South Africa, and finally the reasons why within South Africa, they decide to settle in Cape Town, with a particular accent put on the integration of these migrants into the local society. The thesis considers legal migrants, students, refugees and extra-legals as the four categories of migrants according to theoretical frameworks. A brief overview of selected theories of international migration is considered to provide a framework for the Francophone African migration to Cape Town. The theoretical causes of Francophone African migration are viewed through both theories on the initiation of migration and theories of the perpetuation of migration. Apart from the theoretical synopsis, the data on which this study is based are derived from both qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches. Alongside secondary sources, a series of interviews, based on categories of migrants and gender, were conducted in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa, as well as in Libreville in Gabon. In-depth interviews and focus-groups aimed at collecting information concerning the three main questions of the study. The reasons for the departure of Francophone Africans from their countries of origin are complex and mainly depend on the categories of migrants. As far as legal migrants and students are concerned, economic, political, social and academic paralysis, career prospects and the desire to pursue studies are the main reasons. As for refugees and extralegals, armed conflicts, environmental catastrophes, economic and social deterioration and social capital seem to be the main causes. Since 1994, South Africa has claimed a strong leadership role on the continent because of its economic and political strengths. Educational infrastructure, the language factor and social capital are also reasons why migrants choose South Africa as a host country. The settlement in Cape Town depends on various factors, including the consideration of the city as first choice, safety concerns in other South African cities, the inability to settle in other cities, particularly Johannesburg, and social networks. French language seems to be a common language identity linking various ethnic groups residing in Francophone Africa. However, once migrants have established themselves in Cape Town, their ethnic, religious or political identities prevail. The thesis analyses the settlement of migrants in Cape Town by pointing out the complexities of migrant life in a case study of each category considered.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis het ten doel om ‘n groep Franssprekende Afrika migrante in Kaapstad, in die dekade wat direk op die einde van die apartheidsera gevolg het, te ondersoek. Die tesis fokus op die redes waarom Franssprekende Afrikane hulle land van oorsprong verlaat, die redes waarom hulle na Suid-Afrika kom en, laastens, die redes waarom hulle in Suid-Afrika besluit om in Kaapstad te bly – die klem is spesifiek op die integrasie van die migrante binne die plaaslike gemeenskap. Na aanleiding van die teoretiese raamwerke wat vir die studie oorweeg word, neem die tesis wettige migrante, studente, vlugtelinge en onwettige migrante as die vier kategorieë van migrante, in ag. ’n Bondige oorsig van uitgesoekte teorieë vir internasionale migrasie word as raamwerk vir die Franssprekende Afrikane se migrasie na Kaapstad oorweeg. Die teoretiese oorsake vir Franssprekende Afrikane se migrasie word deur beide die teorieë vir die inisiasie vir migrasie en die teorieë vir die bestendiging vir migrasie beoordeel. Naas die teoretiese sinopsis, word die data waarop hierdie studie gebaseer is, van beide kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe metodologiese benaderinge afgelei. Aanvullend tot die sekondêre bronne, is daar ook ‘n reeks onderhoude, gebaseer op kategorieë van migrante en geslag, in Kaapstad, Johannesburg en Pretoria in Suid-Afrika asook in Libreville in Gabon, gevoer – in diepte onderhoude en fokusgroepe met die doel om inligting rakende die drie hoofkwessies van die studie in te win. Die redes vir die emigrasie van Franssprekende Afrikane uit hulle oorsprongsland is kompleks en hang grotendeels saam met die kategorieë van migrante. Wat die wettige migrante en studente aanbetref is ekonomiese, politieke, sosiale en akademiese magteloosheid, loopbaan vooruitsigte en die begeerte vir die nastreef van studies, die hoofredes. Vir vlugtelinge en onwettige migrante blyk die hoofoorsake dié van gewapende konflik, natuurrampe, ekonomiese en sosiale agteruitgang en sosiale kapitaal te wees. Sedert 1994, het Suid-Afrika, weens haar ekonomiese en politieke vermoëns, ’n sterk leierskapsrol op die kontinent uitgeoefen. Opvoedkundige infrastrukture, die taalkwessie en sosiale kapitaal is nog redes waarom migrante Suid-Afrika as gasheerland uitsonder. Vestiging in Kaapstad hang van verskeie redes af, insluitende die inagneming van die stad as eerste keuse, veiligheidsaspekte in ander Suid-Afrikaanse stede en die onvermoë om in ander stede gevestig te word. Die klem in hierdie verband rus veral op Johannesburg en sosiale netwerke. Frans as taal skyn ‘n algemene identiteit te wees wat verskeie etniese groepe in Franssprekende Afrika met mekaar verbind. Tog is dit hulle etniese, godsdienstige en politieke identiteit wat gehandhaaf word sodra migrante hulself in Kaapstad gevestig het. Die tesis analiseer ook die vestiging van migrante in Kaapstad deur die kompleksiteite binne die leeftydsmigrasie van ’n gevallestudie vir elke kategorie in ag te neem.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/898
This item appears in the following collections: