Dissertation Abstracts

Second Generation Mozambican Migrant Youth’s Identity and Sense of Belonging in South Africa: The Case of Rural Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga

Author: Betty Chiyangwa, bettychiyangwa@yahoo.com
Department: Department of Sociology
University: University of Johannesburg , South Africa
Supervisor: P. Rugunanan and K. Batisai
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Mozambican , second-generation , youth , Bushbuckridge
Areas of Research: Migration , Youth , Senses and Society


This thesis is centred on exploring the complexities surrounding second generation Mozambican migrant youth’s experiences in an attempt to construct their identity and developing sense of belonging in post-apartheid South Africa, precisely in Bushbuckridge. Established in 1884, Bushbuckridge is one of the earliest districts to accommodate Mozambicans who migrated to South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. This study is governed by four major objectives. The first objective observes how second generation Mozambican migrant youth who are living in South Africa negotiate and construct their own identities. The second objective is an exploration of second generation Mozambican migrant youth narratives regarding their sense of belonging in South Africa. Thirdly, the study intends to understand ways in which identity and belonging influence second generation Mozambican migrant youth experiences and future aspirations in South Africa. The last objective examines how Sen’s Capability approach is relevant in understanding second generation Mozambican migrant youth identity and belonging in South Africa. This is a single case study informed by data gathered from semi structured interviews and narratives with youth between the ages of 18 and 34, who are born and raised in South Africa to at least one Mozambican parent and living in Bushbuckridge. Drawing from Crenshaw’s Intersectionality approach and Sen’s Capability approach this study significantly contributes to the existing body of knowledge on South to South migration through demonstrating how Intersectionality approach and Capability approach is operationalized towards understanding the complex experiences and capabilities of disadvantaged group simultaneously. The subject of second generation migrants is often under researched in the context of migration in South African thus their opinions and views have often been marginalised in Social Science research. In conceptualising the concept of identity among second generation migrant youth, this thesis explores the historical developments of first and second generation migrants among Mozambicans in South Africa. Through exploring migrant groups from a historical and present perspective, this research reveals how being born to a migrant parent(s) and raised in a hosting country complicates one’s identity and sense of belonging. In the quest of forming their identities and constructing sense of belonging, migrants establishes resilient unity closely linked to Crenshaw’s notion of agency and space. Bushbuckridge as a destination for Mozambican migrants is crucial to their search for social freedom and a space to “belong to”. The action of deliberately seeking freedom is known as an act of agency. Youth is often understood as a social process though forgetting numerous ways youth play an active role in constructing their social world. Perceiving youth from such a stand point overlooks their capability to define and construct their own identity.