Navigation and service

Ulrich Jürgens and Jürgen Bähr (2007)

Foreigners in South African (Inner)Cities*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 32, 1-2/2007, p. 313-332, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

Until the end of apartheid, both internal and external migration were subject to tight restrictions, whereby “desirable” immigration of persons of European origin contrasted with a policy of denaturalising the black population and sending them to their so-called homelands. International immigration of persons with black skin was not part of the scheme. This was not to change until the beginning of the nineties. For Africans outside South Africa, the political changes became a model of hope for their own home countries, some of which had been laid waste by civil wars. At the same time, for many it was a jump from the Third to the First World without having to leave the continent. Because of high unemployment rates of between 40 and 80 % in the Southern African provinces, however, black South Africans above all reject individual groups of immigrants. Who are these migrants living at the edges of mainstream society, what demographic particularities do they show, and to what degree are they both spatially segregated and also socially excluded? The internal surveys on this are aligned to case examples in Johannesburg (Yeoville) and Durban (Albert Park). In contrast to the snapshots by other authors, it was possible to record and query demographic change in both quantitative and qualitative terms, and to compare it over time in 1989, 1998 and 2005. This was based on standardised and representative questionnaires in the shape of a random building sample. It can be shown that African foreigners can be characterised as a very young, male-dominated population group comprising few children or young people, with few longer-term family relationships in their place of residence. A noticeable job mismatch can be noted for most people if one compares their income and circumstances with their level of education. More than 10 % of foreigners in Yeoville stated that they had graduated from a university, whilst another 28 % had taken ‘A’ levels without having an adequate source of income. The concentration of groups of foreigners in a small area is noticeable, and can be evaluated as fulfilling a protective function, conserving cultural identities through local ties and in support of a viable ethnic economy.

* Original title: Ausländer in südafrikanischen (Innen-)Städten (full text in German only)

This Page

© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2017