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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender, farmwork, and women's migration from Lesotho to the new South Africa
Authors:Ulicki, Theresa
Crush, JonathanISNI
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:women migrants
labour migration
Labor and Employment
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Abstract:The new movement of female migrants from Lesotho to South Africa is part of an important reconfiguration of patterns and processes of migration in southern Africa. Historical research has destroyed the myth of the stay-at-home wife. At the same time, it is clear that contemporary women's cross-border movement is unprecedented in its scope, scale, and complexity. The specificity and gender distinctiveness of this movement have yet to be adequately understood. The present article seeks to stimulate such work through analysis of a specific, localized 'migrant labour system' in which the place of women is central. It explores the new movement of Sotho women to work on the farms of South Africa, a perfectly legal movement which both mirrors and is closely related to the migration of male contract workers to the mines. It shows that migrant farmworkers work seasonally, are recruited as 'single' workers, and return home immediately. Concepts of linkage such as 'transnationalism' appear too grand to capture the essence of this local labour system. The article also addresses broader questions about the relationships among labour markets, household restructuring, and cross-border migration in postapartheid South Africa. The article is based on research conducted in Lesotho and South Africa in 1997 and 1998. Notes, ref., sum. in French.