Diasporas are increasingly viewed as a vital untapped development resource by governments in the global South. As a result, strategies and programmes for diaspora engagement in development are very much on the global migration and development agenda. However, debates about the actual and potential role of diasporas in development are characterized by a striking myopia that tends to view diasporas from the South as located primarily or exclusively in the global North. The case of Zimbabwe is particularly interesting in this regard. The country has been a major global migrant source country for the last two decades as the economic and political crisis in a once well-managed state deepened. Though their lives and status in South Africa remain precarious, they are carving out lives and livelihoods and building social networks in a hostile land. What we are witnessing, therefore, is the act of creation of a diaspora as migration shifts from being temporary and circular in nature to being more diverse and permanent or semi-permanent. Under the current political dispensation in Zimbabwe, most members of the diaspora are likely to confine their engagements to family and personal matters and avoid engagement overtures from the Zimbabwean government. That said, Zimbabweans in South Africa increasingly identify with the notion that they are members of a diaspora and are starting to form associations and organize themselves to pursue a range of diaspora activities.
Full chapter in Diasporas, Development and Governance via SpringerLink (subscription required).
Photo credit: John Perivolaris
|Publication Type||Chapter in series|
|Publisher||Springer International Publishing|
|Author(s)||Jonathan Crush , Abel Chikanda, Godfrey Tawodzera|
|Other Numbers||Volume 5 of the series Global Migration Issues, p. 221-238|