The Experiences of Immigrants in South Africa: A Case Study of


Migration from non-SADe countri es to South Africa has become the new trend of population movement in Southem AfTica. This research was conducted with Ethiopian immigrants in Durban in an attempt to shed some insights into this new nexus. The aim of the study was to understand the experiences of Ethiopian immigrants before, during and after their migration. In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 Eth iopian immigrants in South Africa. The decision to migrate was mainly motivated by economic reasons. There were many con tributing fac tors in making the decision to migrate. These included soc ial networks, cost of travel, accessibi lity and ava ilabili ty of opportunities in SOllth Africa. Ethiopian immigrants have used different travel routes and entry points to enter SOllth Africa, both legally and illegally. They selected Durban as their destination city because of the availability of economic opportuni ties and the relatively less bureaucracy in government offices compared to other ci ties. Various IiteratllTcs sugges1 1hat immigrants in SOLlth Africa and other parts of the world share the experiences of Eth iopian immigrants in SOllth Africa in many ways. The findings of this research suggest that most Ethiopian immigrants in South Africa are involved in the infonnal economic secto r. The target of their economic acti vities is mainly South AfTicans in the townships and Ethiopian immigran ts themselves. This research al so found that Ethiopian immigrant s have not integrated with the local community. The study fm1her explains some of the challenges Ethiopian immigrants face during their travel and stay in South Afri ca. Most of the Ethiopian immigrants stated that they do not intend to stay in South A frica fo r long. Most of them plan to go to economically more affluent countries like the United States of America

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