Effects of perceptions and negotiation of decision making on gender relations, masculinity and contested patriachy among immigrant-South African households in Johannesburg, South Africa

The study aimed at understanding how immigrant men and South African women in heterosexual relationships perceive and negotiate gender relations arising from household decision-making; and the effects these have on notions of masculinity among couples living in Johannesburg, South Africa. In order to investigate the research question, I used qualitative descriptive approaches with a poststructuralist perspective. The study drew on Foucault’s conceptualization of power and identified eight (8) immigrant men originating from other African countries and eight (8) South African women using purposive and snowball sampling. All individuals recruited were of at least eighteen years of age and had lived with their partners for at least two years. I perceived a minimum of two years of living together as adequate for differences in culture and socialization of people in immigrant-South African relationships to manifest in the performance of gender; and to equip participants with different constructions of decision-making, gender relations and masculinity. I selected men from other African countries because of the exclusionary discourses surrounding them in South Africa. Data was collected using face-to-face in-depth semi structured interviews with open-ended questions. Data analysis was undertaken using both thematic and discourse analysis. In doing the thematic analysis, work by Braun and Clarke (2006) was drawn on while work by Parker (1994, 1997 and 2005) was focused on for the discourse analysis. The study found that immigration and difference in nationality shape the different perceptions that determine decisions on formation of immigrant-South African relationships; affect income inequalities and decisions on expenditures; as well as decisions related to children in immigrant-South African households; and that these affect gender relations and notions of masculinity. The study further found that there are contradiction between gender equality and traditionally acceptable gender roles; as well as patriarchal and anti-patriarchal socializations by immigrant men and South African women. It also found that immigrant men and South African women use similar strategies in reviving and silencing of transgressed masculinity.

Africa in Fact – Departures and displacements

Articles in this issue cover migration, refugees and the African diaspora. Government performance underlies most migration stories. Improving it promotes voluntary, desirable migration.

Migration, gender and urbanisation in Johannesburg

This thesis interrogates the dynamics of urbanisation, gender and migration in contemporary Johannesburg through the voices and images of migrant women from the rest of the African continent, now living in Johannesburg. By revealing the lives of a population group that is often hidden from view, it provides details of women’s migration to Johannesburg, and their everyday encounters in the host city. Using these experiences, it sheds light on contemporary migration and urbanisation processes on the continent, expanding our knowledge of the contours of power that shape urban life in Johannesburg and elsewhere. Using the metaphor of the “borderÀ or “borderlandsÀ this thesis explores how women negotiate, cross and remain “in betweenÀ the multiple physical, social and imagined borders they encounter in the city. It finds that analyses that read the city through class relationships and capital accumulation do not give adequate weight to the multiple identities and forms of solidarity that exist in cities. Women’s narratives reveal that while their class is an important identity, other identities such as ethnicity, nationality and gender also powerfully shape solidarity and modes of belonging in the city. Moreover, state-centric governance frameworks that have dominated urban policy and scholarly work on the continent are often blinded to the ways in which urban dweller’s actions shift our understanding of the nature and character of state power. Women’s encounters with the state reveal the multiple regimes of power that constitute the city, and the ways in which these subvert, fragment, and yet at times reinforce state power in unpredictable ways. The epistemological approach and findings of this research bring to the fore broader questions around the paradigmatic lenses used to read, interpret and understand African cities. Dominant paradigms tend to draw on western models of cities in ways that undermine African cities’ empirical realities and theoretical potential. For as long as scholars and policy makers fail to see African urbanity in its own terms rather than in relation to how cities elsewhere have evolved, we will continue to miss critical socio-political and economic dynamics that are shaping urbanisation in the twenty first century.

Local economic development and migrant remittances:in rural Zimbabwe: building on sand or solid ground?

The paper explores the impact of migrant remittances on local economic development in a locality where more than half of the households have been recipients for at least five years. The study has taken place in rural Zimbabwe and uses an ethnographic method devised for this research. The method was termed “follow the moneyÀ and consists of a scrutiny of several rounds of economic exchange of goods and services in the locality, starting when households receive the cash. Consistent with previous research, the study found that remittances boost the consumption of receiving households and have a limited but positive effect on non-receiving households. Part of the cash transfers are used for equipment and investment, mostly in traditional agricultural activities. This study highlights that remittances are responsible for the creation of a significant number of jobs locally, although insecure and low waged, and a small number of growth-oriented businesses, mostly by non-recipients and oriented to the local market. The study highlights the potential for government intervention to further enterprise development with the last group of entrepreneurs in order to localise the longer-term effects of remittances.

African renewal: industrialization

The special feature covers conflict resolution and peace building. The UN chief and the leader of the World Bank team up to resolve conflict and fight poverty in the Great lakes region. Articles look at the endgame in the Congo as well as tapping migration wealth to fund development and the return of skilled labour to Africa. Other articles look at industrialization and opportunities for African women created by shea butter.

September 9, 2013 Themes: Conflict | Migration | Poverty Programs: Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) | Journal

Renegotiating masculinities in a transnational context : the use of sex-enhancing substances (dawa za nguvu ya mapenzi) amongst heterosexual men of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in Durban

This study was based on the heterosexual form of sexuality as it is the most dominant form of masculinity amongst the Congolese. The aim of this dissertation was to investigate the type of migrant Congolese heterosexual men living in Durban who mostly use sex-enhancing substances and the reasons behind the practice. It sought to explore the impact of the black African isiZulu cultural environment influence about the use of sex-enhancing substances on the DRC men heterosexual in their negotiation of masculinities within the transnational space
Further, the study critically examined how migrant Congolese heterosexual men are renegotiating their masculinities in a transnational space through sex enhancing substances. The key question in this study was “How are men from the DRC using sex-enhancing substances to re-negotiate their masculinities in the transnational spaceÀ? The methodology was qualitative and in-depth interview was utilized as the method of data collection. The results of this study indicated that the migrant Congolese heterosexual men in renegotiating their masculinities within the transnational space through sex-enhancing reinforce existing hegemonic notions of masculinities and also end up creating new forms of hegemonic notions of masculinities.

Transnationalism and the (re) construction of gender identities amongst foreign students of African origin at the Uniiveristy of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban South Africa

The transnational migration of students is a vast yet under-researched area with most studies focusing on skilled and unskilled foreign immigrants. The transnational experience of studying outside their home country and constant negotiations of new social and cultural environments provides students with an opportunity to either challenge or reinforce their perspectives of gender. An examination of gender in a transnational context however continues to be a much neglected domain. Gender is salient in migration because not only do gender relations facilitate or constrain both men’s and women’s movements but they also structure the whole migration process including practices and the construction of self. This thesis interrogates the reconstruction of gender identities by foreign students of African origin at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN hereafter) in Durban South Africa. This study aims to contribute to the fields of gender and migration by examining ways in which gender shapes migratory flows and examining how migration shapes gender relations. Through exploring the tensions that students perceive and undergo and struggle with as they bring their own cultural insights , values and practices to a new context at UKZN, I seek to highlight the complexity of their gender identities as negotiated in a transnational context. By using an interpretivist theoretical paradigm which is a qualitative approach, I highlight how the communal process of the views and perceptions of the students and my multidimensional positionality intersected to produce knowledge. I also highlight the gender relations as an important dynamic in the data collection process. The body of data reveals that men and women cite different factors as influencing their propensity to migrate namely gender role socialisation on the part of the men and education and empowerment on the part of the women. In spite of the gender differences in facilitating their migration to South Africa, both men and women display resonance in terms of choosing South Africa and UKZN in particular as a study destination showing gender to be situational. This is in light of opportunity structures in place at UKZN that are available to both men and women thus enabling the foreign African women students to take advantage of opportunities they may not have had in their home countries The study also generates critical insights about the complexities experienced by these students as a result of immersing themselves in UKZN embedded in Durban a multiracial environment which is still a much divided society. I also examine how these students perceive and interpret gender norms in South Africa and how these gender norms challenge or support conceptions of gender norms in their country of origin. The themes presented in this study reveal that gender identity construction is related to the struggle over power and social status. A significant aspect of the findings was how the students were re-interpreting and re-defining their gender roles and expectations in the transnational space. Gender roles were enacted in different ways by students to express social status, position and power. This study also interrogates how the interplay of social ranking such as gender, class, ethnicity and nationality serve to construct several versions of masculinity and femininity in the transnational space. The exploration of the students’ engagement with the gender discourse highlights the dilemma based on the dialectic between modern gender roles as a result of western education and maintaining traditional gender roles as a result of cultural upbringing. The study also explores the development of hybridised gender identities within the transnational space. In the course of the study religion was highlighted as key factor in influencing the ways in which migrants renegotiate their beliefs, practices and attitudes and personal as well as social identities in the host country. The study examined how religion informed the transnational students’ ethnic and gender-based identities and their experiences of social life and their appropriations of religion to form alternative identities.

Migrant women in sex work: does urban space impact self-(re)presentation in Hillbrow, Johannesburg

Urbanization is rapidly taking place in Africa: fifty percent of the continent’s population is expected to be living in urban areas by 2030 (Kok and Collinson in Vearey 2010b). Both internal1 and cross-border migrants2 are moving into South Africa’s urban centers at a faster rate than her neighboring countries; approximately 60 percent of the population is estimated to be urban (ibid). The worldwide increase in urbanization requires that research recognize the trajectories of people moving into these urban spaces, as well as the experiences that people encounter as they navigate urban centers (Kihato, 2010, Landau 2006a, 2006b, Vearey 2010a, 2010b, Venables, 2010). Many migrants in inner-city Johannesburg engage in unconventional survival strategies, including sex work (e.g. Richter 2010). Although sex work is considered an informal livelihood strategy, it is currently illegal in South Africa (UNAIDS, 2009). Research on sex work in South Africa is limited; however, there is significant evidence that sex workers in inner-city Johannesburg experience unsafe, unhealthy- often times violent- working and living conditions (e.g. Nyangairi, 2010, Richeter, 2010). This research is primarily interested in exploring the ways in which “marginalizedÀ urban migrant groups choose to represent themselves versus the incomplete (re) presentation that is often relegated to them. A focus on representation will provide an opportunity for policy makers, programmers and academics to gain insight and better comprehend the experiences of migrant urban populations. In this case, the researcher is looking specifically at migrant women who sell sex as an entry point into the larger issues of (re) presentation among individuals and communities who are often described as “vulnerableÀ and/or “marginalÀ. Aim: The aim of this research project is to explore how migrant women who sell sex in Hillbrow, Johannesburg (re) present themselves, and how (or not) urban space affects these self- (re) presentations. Methods: The epistemological framework for the methodologies used in this study was Participatory Action Research (PAR), and the primary data collection methodology used consisted of an eleven-day participatory photo project where the research participants were given digital cameras and asked to photograph the “storyÀ that they would like to share. Upon completion of the participatory photo workshop, five research participants were randomly selected to participate in 2-3 sessions of in-depth, semi-structured narrative interviews where the researcher explored the choice of photos taken, as well as the reasons why the photos were selected to (re) present themselves. Conclusion: This study has shown that use of Participatory Action Research as an epistemological framework is both conducive and appropriate when researching ‘hard to reach’ groups of people residing in complex urban areas. Furthermore, this research signals the need for greater inclusion of participants in studies aimed at understanding individual/group experience, especially when working with marginalized communities. This study also reveals a host of future research opportunities for those interested in exploring: (1) identity in urban space/urban health, (2) livelihood experiences/strategies of people living in densely populated urban spaces, (3) issues of belonging and access to health care, (4) impacts of structural violence on the lives of migrant women sex workers, (6) ways that perceptions and representations are impacted in group settings, and (5) the use of ‘innovative methodologies’ as a viable tool in social science research

The socio-economic integration of Congolese migrants in Johannesburg : ‘a gendered analysis’

This qualitative study conducted in South Africa, explores the socio-economic integration of Congolese migrants living in Johannesburg. Drawing on respondents own subjective experiences, this study investigates the way Congolese perceive and explain socio-economic integration and the role that gender-roles play in this understanding. Participants were identified using purposive sampling as well as snowballing techniques and narratives of ten Congolese women and men were employed in data collection using semi structured interview guide. Data for this study was analysed using a combination of content, narrative and discourse analysis. Analysis of the data revealed that loss of status played a major role on Congolese men’s and women’s feelings and perceptions of socio-economic integration. Loss of status was increased by migration through intersections of unequal power relations, access to services, and broader related migration issues. Findings also reveal that participants drew on specific migration related discourses including poverty, access to services (institutional), legal status, socio-economic status, socio-cultural status and xenophobia to explain their perceptions and feelings regarding socio-economic integration in South Africa. Further analysis indicates that being socially and economically integrated is not simply defined by having jobs, the right to access services, associating with South Africans but having the lifestyle that one had in the country of origin prior to migration. This includes feeling respected and finally having the same economic and social power as the locals. Among discourses drawn on, participants also used the discourse on traditional practices to justify their unwillingness to integrate into the South African community. The unwillingness to integrate also arises from what respondents described as the reversal of gender roles, and culture showing how these can be a barrier to socio-economic integration.

Experiences and coping strategies of women informal cross-border traders in unstable political and economic conditions: the case of Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) traders

Informal cross-border trade is one of the viable informal sector activities which had become a key livelihood strategy for many Zimbabweans mainly during the time period of 2007 to 2009, at the height of the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe. That was a period of intense shortages of basic commodities which have left the country depending mainly on donations and imports from neighbouring countries. The study sought to understand the experiences and coping strategies of Zimbabwean women informal cross-border traders operating between Gwanda/Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and Johannesburg/Gauteng, South Africa. The study followed the whole chain of trade with focus on experiences and coping strategies of traders at the various stages of informal trade. Semi-structured in-depth interviews and life history analysis were conducted with nine women traders and some informal discussions conducted with bus drivers, artists and other suppliers of goods. Observations were also made which included travelling with informal cross-border traders across the border, being with them when they bought their goods, and staying with them at one of the markets in South Africa where they sold curios they brought from Zimbabwe.The study noted that informal cross-border traders were mostly motivated by the desire to support their children and see them through school, including tertiary education. Their motivation was strong enough to keep them determined to stay in business despite the many challenges that they faced. These challenges included xenophobic attacks, police harassment, transport challenges, bad accommodation while away from home, visa challenges and many others. The coping strategies included finding ways of sharing costs, ‘cheating’ the system where some rules and regulations hindered their progress, and creating a strong social support base and connections. It was also noted that changing economic and political environment had direct impacts on the trade and hence flexibility of goods traded and medium of exchange are a crucial character of the trade in unstable environments