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Migrant Labour After Apartheid: The Inside Story

Leslie J Bank, Dorrit Posel, and Francis Wilson, eds.
Migrant Labour After Apartheid: The Inside Story
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2579-4
2020/404 pages
Distributed for HSRC Press
"This book is a pioneering effort to advance [the] understanding of enduring circular labour migrancy. Its originality, depth, and clarity make it required reading for those in universities, government, business, and civil society who wish to address this socially entrenched, yet constantly changing, feature of South African society."—Alan Mabin, University of Witswatersrand


A large portion of South Africa's population remains double rooted—many South Africans live in an urban area, but also have access to a rural homestead to which they periodically return and often retire. The authors of Migrant Labour After Apartheid explore this rural-urban reality, showing that internal migrancy continues to have profound impacts on social cohesion, family life, gender relations, household investment, settlement dynamics, and the formation of political identity.


Leslie J Bank is deputy executive director of the Human Sciences Research Council's Economic Performance and Development Program. Dorrit Posel is distinguished professor in the School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand. Francis Wilson is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Cape Town.


  • Introduction: Migrant Labour After Apartheid—the Editors.
  • Measuring Labour Migration After Apartheid: Patterns and Trends—D. Posel.
  • Rural-Urban Migration as a Means of Getting Ahead—J. Visagie and I. Turok.
  • Accessing the City: Informal Settlements as Staging Posts for Urbanisation in post-Apartheid South Africa—C. Ndinda and T. Ndhlovu.
  • What Does Labour Migration Mean for Families? Children's Mobility in the Context of Maternal Migration—K. Hall and D. Posel.
  • Distance and Duality: Migration, Family, and the Meaning of Home for Eastern Cape Migrants—M. Makiwane and N.A. Gumede.
  • KwaMashu Hostel: Rural-Urban Interconnections in KwaZulu-Natal—N. Xulu-Gama.
  • From "Living Wage" to "Family Wage:" Platinum Lives and the Contemporary Mineworkers' Movement (2012–17)—L. Sinwell.
  • Migrant Women in South Africa's Platinum Belt: Negotiating Different Conceptions of Femininities—A.-J. Benya.
  • How Labour Migration Works in the Space Economy: Labour Markets, Migration Tracks, and Homelessness as an Indicator of Failure—C. Cross et al.
  • Marikana Revisited: Migrant Culture, Ethnicity, and African Nationalism in South Africa—L.J. Bank.
  • Agricultural Production, the Household "Development Cycle" and Migrant Remittances: Continuities and Change in the Eastern Cape Hinterland—M. Rogan.
  • Migrancy and the Differentiated Agrarian Landscapes: Land Use, Farming and the Reproduction of the Homestead in the Eastern Cape—P. Hebinck.
  • Cattle after Migrant Labour: Emerging Markets and Changing Regimes of Value in Rural South Africa—L.J. Bank and M. Kenyon.
  • Double-Rooted Families: The Circulation of Hidden Resources Between Urban and Rural South Africa—A. Perry.
  • Displaced Urbanism: City Shack Life and the Citizenship of the Suburban House in the Rural Transkei—L.J. Bank.
  • Changing Small-Town Economies in the Eastern Cape—M. Aliber and N.B. Nikelo.
  • Harnessing the Ancestors: Uncertainty and Ritual Practice in the Eastern Cape—A. Ainslie.
  • Entangled in Patriarchy: Migrants, Men, and Matrifocality After Apartheid—L.J. Bank.