There has been an exodus of Zimbabweans from their country in the past two decades due to a prolonged economic crisis, underlain by an unstable political environment. Hence, the majority of people leaving Zimbabwe are largely economic migrants, seeking better livelihoods in neighbouring countries. While South Africa is the most preferred destination because of its relatively more developed and stable economy, not all migrants secure jobs or engage in meaningful livelihood activities. Recent economic challenges in the South African economy means that competition for jobs is stiff, and migrants inevitably fare much worse on the job market. Facing such hardships, how do these migrants meet their food needs?
This study examined the food security of Zimbabwean migrants in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Study findings show that, though most migrated to escape poverty and hunger in their country, the majority were equally deprived and facing a food security crisis in South Africa. Most migrants were constructing livelihoods in an informal sector which has become more restrictive and even dangerous for migrants to operate in. The migrants’ food security crisis was worsened by the advent of COVID-19 and accompanying restrictions which made it difficult to engage in economic activities, in an environment where most were ineligible to access the various funds put in place to help households lessen the impact of the pandemic.
About the speaker
Godfrey Tawodzera is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Namibia. He has previously worked at the University of Limpopo, the University of Zimbabwe, the Catholic University of Mozambique, and in the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town. Godfrey has been involved in numerous studies on food security and migration and has published extensively in these fields with particular focus on South Africa, Zambia and in Zimbabwe.
MiFOOD is hosting a series of webinars on various topics about migration and food security that highlight the progress of the project. These webinars include conceptual discussion, empirical findings and policy analysis. Through these webinars, we intend to build a community with various stakeholders for knowledge sharing, deepen the understanding of the complex intersections between migration and food security, and facilitate the discussion of effective policy interventions. Follow the MiFOOD Twitter (Moving on Empty), Like the MiFOOD Facebook page to be notified about upcoming webinars.