SSIIM Paper Series Vol. 3

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Practice of citizenship, practice of resistance: Mozambicans in Johannesburg, South Africa
by Elena Ostanel

With the end of the apartheid regime and despite the strict immigration policies introduced since 1994, the number of foreign workers in Johannesburg, South Africa, has increased significantly up to approximately 7 percent of the city population. The Census 2001, recorded approximately 220.000 international migrants (6.7%) around 10.000 from Mozambique. In South Africa, one of the main obstacles to constructive thinking about international migration is the growth of xenophobic intolerance (Crush, 2005). Policy response is greatly influenced by the strong public perception that immigration is a threat to the economic and social stability of the local population. Starting form this assumption, the paper looks at some critical aspects of the relationship between Mozambican migrants and urban inclusion in Johannesburg. The paper wants to analyze the issue of citizenship looked at from the point of view of the practices immigrants put in place ‘to access’ the city, with special focus on security and public space. Self-governing initiatives that are neither planned nor provided by the local government poses major challenges to urban policies that address issues of social and spatial inclusion and has important implications for urban governance (Toner, Taylor, 2008).

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