Migratory trajectories among street vendors in urban South Africa
Lapah, Yota Cyprian
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This study investigates ways in which migratory trajectories relate to the gradual insertion and eventual integration of immigrants. It therefore shows the contribution of social capital in the migration and insertion into the entrepreneurial city of the host country. The focus of the study is on immigrants of African origin. It is hypothesized that immigrants of different nationalities in South Africa use particular assets to engage in street vending as a way of insertion into their new environment. Data were obtained through a survey of two hundred and eight (208) respondents conveniently selected. The survey was carried out in five suburbs of Cape Town and as well as at some major road junctions where these vendors are found. The Statistical package for Social Science (SPSS) was used to analyse the data. The results showed that nationality was an important determinant of the migratory trajectories of immigrant vendors. Migration has been on the increase with the improvement in technology and globalization. In the same light, migration into South African cities mainly from the rest of Africa and Asia took an upward trend especially after the fall of Apartheid Regime and the advent of democracy in the nineties. Street vendors form part of these immigrants in South Africa. Many of them especially from other African countries find it a suitable means of survival. Faced with the difficulty of getting jobs in South Africa, immigrants resort to informal trading as a starting point for survival. They may change to other activities depending on certain variables like duration of stay, level of education, age, sex, marital status, social capital and networks. Coming from different socioeconomic, cultural and political backgrounds, these immigrants resort to different ways of migrating and forms of adaptation aimed at sustaining their livelihood in their new environments. Most studies in the field of migration and entrepreneurship focus on remittances by the migrants as well as their impact on both their place of departure and on the place of destination. Little attention is paid to the way they migrate and how they insert themselves in the entrepreneurial city.