International migration and social inclusion of migrants in South Africa: the case of Cameroonian Migrants in the Western Cape

Doctoral Thesis


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The focus of my research is on the experience of Cameroonian migrants, and their relationship with the City of Cape Town. This work focuses on agency on the part of the migrant in understanding the mechanisms/strategies they use in their integration process within their host communities. This thesis argues that those migrants with the weakest social position and tenuous links to their home country are forced to live a marginal and precarious existence while those with stronger ties and independent means of existence adopt a transnational existence. There are also those migrants who, having selected and made South Africa their home, have transformed local cultures and attitudes. The latter was the ideal type that drove and motivated this research, for it is through these processes that community members in South Africa can be made aware of the benefits that come with migrants. This is a global challenge and different countries have responded to it in different ways. Through a qualitative method, I argue in the thesis that despite the “otherness” experienced by migrants within their host communities, authority and institutions, migrants lay claims of social belonging in South Africa and as a result through ethnic solidarity embedded within their Home Town Association - defensively combine as a strategy for existence within their host communities.