The case of Durban, South Africa

Waves of migration have shaped the history of South Africa, through pre-colonial, colonial and apartheid periods. Push and pull factors continue to attract migrants to South Africa in search of better economic and social opportunities.

Migration in this age of political bounded nation states takes on new symbolic meanings and material experiences. In many parts of the world migration is portrayed as a crisis, an uncontrollable social problem for the ‘host’ country. Xenophobia against perceived ‘foreigners’ is a global phenomenon, and in South Africa this has been the case particularly against flows of migrants, immigrants and refugees coming into South Africa from other African countries.

This project is a collaborative partnership between two civil society organisations, one established (the Democracy Development Program) and one emerging (ASONET – the African Solidarity Network), and a research unit within a South African public university (the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology). It uses creative methods of storytelling, through collecting the oral histories of migrant women, dialogue sessions, radio talk shows, and community participatory theatre. This research and dialogue methodology will be used to develop a strategic report for the municipality offering suggestions and recommendations on social integration and inclusion in the city of Durban.