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Zimbabwe's Exodus

Crisis, Migration, Survival

Jonathan Crush, Daniel Tevera

Publication Year: 2010

The ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe has led to an unprecedented exodus of over a million desperate people from all strata of Zimbabwean society. The Zimbabwean diaspora is now truly global in extent. Yet rather than turning their backs on Zimbabwe, most maintain very close links with the country, returning often and remitting billions of dollars each year. Zimbabwe's Exodus. Crisis, Migration, Survival is written by leading migration scholars many from the Zimbabwean diaspora. The book explores the relationship between Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis and migration as a survival strategy. The book includes personal stories of ordinary Zimbabweans living and working in other countries, who describe the hotility and xenophobia they often experience.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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List of figures and tables

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pp. ix-x

Stories about migration are full of stereotypes and over-simplification. “Aliens” invade “our” country, bringing a foreign culture; people uproot their lives and move in response to shifts in relative wages; remittances promote economic development “back home.” Often, there is a grain of truth behind these ideas...

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p. xi-xi

We extend our grateful thanks to all the contributors to this book for agreeing to provide chapters, responding quickly and generously to our editorial suggestions and showing great patience while the manuscript was being readied for publication. We would also like to thank Abel Chikanda...


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pp. xii-xiv

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Chapter One. Exiting Zimbabwe

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pp. 1-51

When modern states go into terminal decline or fail altogether, the predictable response of ordinary people is to get out, as soon as they can, to wherever they can go.1 Zimbabwe has now joined the list of ‘crisis-driven’ migrations which includes such recent African crises as Angola, the Democratic Republic...

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Chapter Two. A History of Zimbabwean Migration to 1990

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pp. 52-78

Population migration into and out of present-day Zimbabwe long pre-dates European conquest and the imposition of artificial colonial borders. Not only did people move from one area to another as need arose, ethnic boundaries were fluid enough to allow individuals or groups to move...

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Chapter Three. Internal Migration in Zimbabwe: The Impact of Livelihood Destruction in Rural and Urban Areas

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pp. 79-111

The people of Zimbabwe have probably experienced less than two decades of “normality” in relation to the more usual causes of migratory flows in African countries (excluding drought and war). Prior to 1980, the country was under white settler control, and the African population was subject to a vast array of institutionalized controls and constraints on their freedom of movement and settlement in urban...

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Chapter Four. Discontent and Departure: Attitudes of Skilled Zimbabweans Towards Emigration

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pp. 112-132

Whether the brain drain is a “curse or boon,” and for whom, is the subject of considerable international debate.1 Many African governments and scholars argue that the West is actively “poaching” scarce skills without regard to the dire development consequences for countries of origin...

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Chapter Five. Nursing the Health System: The Migration of Health Professionals from Zimbabwe

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pp. 133-155

The brain drain of health professionals from Zimbabwe has had a crippling effect on the country’s public health system.1 The migration of doctors and nurses has been driven by a marked deterioration in working conditions and job prospects at home and unprecedented global opportunities for professional...

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Chapter Six. Transnational Lives: The Experience of Zimbabweans in Britain

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pp. 156-178

The recent exodus from Zimbabwe has been a consequence of economic crisis and repressive policies aimed at curbing political opposition.1 The result has not only been migration to the Southern African region but also elsewhere in the world, including the United Kingdom (UK). It is not possible to accurately determine...

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Chapter Seven. Between Obligation, Profit and Shame: Zimbabwean Migrants and the UK Care Industry

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pp. 179-206

The care industry in Britain faces serious staff shortages, not only of health professionals and social workers, but also of unskilled and semi-skilled carers. Increasingly, new recruits filling jobs at the unskilled end of the care labour...

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Chapter Eight. Regendering the Zimbabwean Diaspora in Britain

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pp. 207-224

Zimbabweans in Britain display most of the features commonly ascribed to a diaspora such as involuntary and voluntary dispersion of the population from the homeland; settlement in foreign territories and an uneasy relationship with the hostland; strong attachment and connection to the original homeland; and the maintenance...

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Chapter Nine. Zimbabwe in Johannesburg

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pp. 225-243

Johannesburg has become the major destination for Zimbabwean migrants over the last decade. Although Zimbabwean migrants are increasingly dispersed throughout South Africa, the 2001 South African Census showed that 80 percent of recorded Zimbabweans lived in inner-city Johannesburg...

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Chapter Ten. Zimbabweans on the Farms of Northern South Africa

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pp. 244-268

In 2000, SAMP published a path-breaking empirical study of Zimbabwean migrant farmworkers in northern South Africa, a topic that was just starting to receive national and international attention.1 Based on fieldwork, interviews, policy reviews, and a questionnaire administered to former Zimbabwean...

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Chapter Eleven. The Voices of Migrant Zimbabwean Women in South Africa

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pp. 269-290

In 2005, the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) conducted a qualitative research project with women migrants living temporarily or permanently in South Africa (the Migrant Voices Project or MVP). Through in-depth interviews and focus groups with women migrants, MVP gathered data on various issues...

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Chapter Twelve. Smuggling on the Zimbabwe-Mozambique Border

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pp. 291-306

Since 2000, cross-border smuggling has become a topical issue in Zimbabwe. The discovery of diamonds at Chiadzwa in the eastern highlands resulted in a diamond rush that saw local communities, as well as some outsiders, participating in the mining of diamonds, and foreign buyers coming in to provide a market...

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Chapter Thirteen. Migrant Remittances and Household Survival in Zimbabwe

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pp. 307-323

While there is a general consensus that remittance flows to and within Africa are increasing, little attention has been paid to the impact of these transfers on poverty alleviation, primarily because of data deficiencies at the household level. Despite their obvious magnitude, accurate data on remittance flows...

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Chapter Fourteen. Remittances, Informalisation and Dispossession in Urban Zimbabwe

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pp. 324-345

During the multifaceted crisis that befell Zimbabwe after 2000, the plight of the people was manifest in a shrinking employment market, triple- or four-digit inflation, a dearth of available commodities, rising child mortality rates, falling life expectancy – to the worst female life expectancy in the world...

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Chapter Fifteen. Transnationalism and Undocumented Migration Between Rural Zimbabwe and South Africa

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pp. 346-362

A prominent feature of current international migration trends is that migrants do not cut ties with their countries of origin but maintain close contact with both the host and the home country. The term “transnationalism” is commonly used to describe these connections while the people involved in this type of migration are referred to as “transmigrants” or collectively...

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Chapter Sixteen. Metaphors of Migration: Zimbabwean Migrants in the South African Media

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pp. 363-376

The rise of xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa, culminating in the horrendous attacks on migrants in May 2008, has been extensively documented in a number of studies.1 The role of the South African media in creating and perpetuating xenophobic stereotypes has also been analyzed...

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Chapter Seventeen. Silence and Fragmentation: South African Responses to Zimbabwean Migration

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pp. 377-399

The recent movement of people from Zimbabwe to South Africa is one of the largest concentrated inflows of migrants in South African history. A rapid influx of hundreds of thousands of people would be treated by most countries as a serious crisis requiring immediate intervention. Yet South Africa’s official reaction...

List of Contributors

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p. 400-400


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pp. 401-416

Back Cover

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p. 417-417

E-ISBN-13: 9781552504994
Print-ISBN-13: 9781920409227

Page Count: 432
Publication Year: 2010