n African Human Rights Law Journal - Social protection for Malawian migrants in Johannesburg : access, exclusion and survival strategies




Many migrants from Southern Africa come to South Africa every year in search of a better life. This article explores the extent to which foreign African migrants are covered or excluded by the social protection regime in South Africa, using the situation of Malawian migrants as a case study. The article demonstrates that there are both normative (or formal) exclusions, as well as practical exclusions from social protection faced by these migrants. In light of this grim reality, the article explores the various survival strategies that these migrants adopt in order to hedge against the risk of socio-economic shocks. The article shows that there are well-developed informal social protection networks largely based on nationality and kinship. Another key finding in the study is that, for many migrants, the movement to South Africa is in itself a social protection measure to protect against existing or future socio-economic risks and vulnerabilities in their native state. The article suggests that the experiences of Malawian migrants in Johannesburg are similar to the experiences of foreign migrants in various metropolitan societies in Eastern and Southern Africa.


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