Migration, Mobilities and Families: Comparative Views Amongst Congolese, Burundian and Zimbabwean Female Refugees

  • Pragna Rugunanan
  • Ria Smit


This chapter explores the migratory experiences of Congolese, Burundian and Zimbabwean female refugees in South Africa from a feminist perspective on migration as a theoretical lens. A feminist perspective allows for the opportunity to view these women not as victims but rather as agents in the migratory process. The Burundian and Congolese refugees felt an overwhelming sense of disconnection with their families left behind in the countries of origin, compared to the Zimbabwean refugees. Juxtaposed with feelings of loss, was a sense of responsibility to family members left behind. For the Zimbabwean refugees, the close proximity of South Africa to Zimbabwe reflected a different migratory experience compared to the Congolese and Burundian refugees. In their attempt to make sense of their life worlds, themes relating to family well-being and resilience and the role of children were explored.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pragna Rugunanan
    • 1
  • Ria Smit
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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