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Cross-Border Mobility between South Africa and Zimbabwe: Historical and Contemporary Trajectories of Development in Musina, South Africa

Joseph Rudigi Rukema and Nedson Pophiwa


Published: 2020/12/01


This paper explores and investigates the historical context of cross-border mobility across the Zimbabwe-South Africa border into Musina, especially with respect to the changing economic conditions in Musina and the surrounding areas. It shows how the Zimbabwe-South Africa border has evolved over time since its demarcation in the late nineteenth century and how its meanings have changed during different time epochs. The colonial regime was for the most part interested in obtaining cheap labor from the region and so mobility of African immigrants was not restricted except where the different employer groups pressured the state to control such movements. More recent forms of mobility include short-term movements for cross-border shopping and recreation, but also a massive influx of migrants and refugees from Zimbabwe that has overwhelmed the local job market. The resulting strain on the resources of the local community has resulted in calls for tighter control of such movements.

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