Love relationships, texting and mobility : an ethnography of cell phone use in intimate relationships among labour migrants in Cape Town
This thesis explores the different ways in which labour migrants in contemporary South Africa make use of cell phones in their daily lives to maintain their love relationships. I start by tracing the history of labour migration and show how the gradual change of migration has played a role in the assertion of labour migrants in their communities in Cape Town. I look specifically into the use of cell phone by Setswana and Sesotho speaking migrants in Delft, Thornton, Brackenfell and Gugulethu. While the focus of the research is on the role of cell phones in maintaining love relationships between migrants and the partners they left behind ‘at home’, I also show how the negotiation of the cell phone in the social lives of migrants helps build wider social networks. The value of the functions of the cell phone through employed communication patterns that encourage social relations and interactions are also the focus of this thesis.