Required readings

All required readings have been sent to you but please contact Blair or Jo if you need them re-sent!  It is ESSENTIAL that you undertake the required readings for each session!

Additional resources

Below are a range of resources that relate to the content of the three week course.  These will provide an introduction to migration in southern Africa, with a focus on different methodological approaches, and different ways of doing research.  This list is by no means exhaustive; please share any helpful material that you come across!

MoVE focuses on the development of visual and other involved methodologies to research the lived experiences of migrants in southern Africa. Our approach aims to integrate social action with research, and involves collaboration with migrant participants, existing social movements, qualified facilitators and trainers, and research students engaged in participatory research methods.  This work includes the study and use of visual methods – including photography, narrative writing, participatory theatre, collage – and other arts-based approaches in the process of producing, analysing, and disseminating research data. These approaches to research facilitate story-telling and self-study, incorporating various auto ethnographic approaches. Central areas of investigation relate to issues of social justice in relation to migration, with a specific focus on sexuality, gender, health, and policy.  Explore MoVE projects online.

Zine Publication 31 October 2016 Final - Front Cover (2).jpg

Routes and Rites to the City [free supplement online] – Mobility, Diversity and Religious Life in Johannesburg
This project aims to chart, through a collectively produced monograph, conference and exhibition, the intricate cartography of religion in Johannesburg, covering a significant diversity of practices and spaces. Developing the concept of ‘super-diversity’, the study aims to account for the radical proliferation and spatial proximity of diverse religious orders in the city, and the intersection of these with the intense migration into the city in the postapartheid era. The project explores how urban space is produced and transformed through the intersecting phenomena of migratory processes and religious ritual, and argues that these phenomena powerfully shape urban spatialities, administrations and moral orders.

Postapartheid Johannesburg provides a pointed case study due to the super-diverse character of its population, along with the dense historical and contemporary patterns of migration that have shaped the city. It has often been alluded to as a ‘city of migrants’, and yet the dominant framing of the city in existing literature has been as a secular urban metropolis. Challenging this line of thought, we argue that religion is a powerful force in creating the cityscape and orienting the lives of those seeking to find work and wellbeing within it. Engaging with contemporary urban theory, the research maps how the ‘right to the city’ is claimed through religious rites, and how these in turn shape, and are shaped by, migratory routes.

In this project we draw on perspectives and methodologies from religious history, anthropology, sociology, theology, and critical aesthetics to develop the flourishing body of theory on religion, migration and urbanism showing how the transnational dimensions of migration and religion are localized and emplaced in the urban setting.

The book ‘Routes and Rites to the City’ is edited by Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon, Lorena Nunez & Peter Kankonde Bukasa, with visual editing by Bettina Malcomess. The authors explore the radically diverse, but spatially dense patterns of migration and emplacement as a lens into the ways in which religion is integral to place-making and belonging in the city. Religion offers both material and symbolic entry points into the life-world and economies of the city. It provides both sites of refuge but also contributes to contestations around urban space. It produces sites of value, meaning and power that intersect with the regional and global circulation of capital and labour but are not reducible to these. It fosters symbols and socialites that are deeply enmeshed in the urban fabric.

Chapters span Christian traditions including evangelical, Pentecostal movements, prophetic and African Independent Churches, along those Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. These studies are situated in the historical context mapping of both contemporary and historical migratory processes and place-making.

The themes of this book revolve around four broad and intersecting themes:

  • The spatial and temporal diversity of migration and religion in Johannesburg
  • The sacralization and appropriation of urban space
  • The politics and economy of religion in the city
  • Spaces of refuge and conflict

KNOW MY STORY is a photography and film project undertaken by sex workers.  It portrays stories of female and transgender sex workers in Soweto (South Africa’s oldest township), showing the human face of sex work, and challenging stereotypes of sex workers as mere helpless victims of exploitation or as immoral fallen women.  The photographs and film explore the motivations for why people sell sex (including to support their children, families and communities), the health implications (including HIV and sexually transmitted diseases) and the risk of violence.  Meet the team here.

Writing Invisibility
This project involved a workshop bringing together narrative writers and academics in June 2012 and the subsequent publication of an e-book of narrative journalism and academic responses, which we produced in collaboration with the national newspaper the Mail & Guardian. The e-book was originally released in September 2012 as part of the Mail & Guardian literary festival and hosted on their site. Several shorter versions of the pieces were also published in the newspaper.  This freely available e-book aims to bring to the fore the importance of linking narrative non-fiction and social sciences.’Writing Invisibility: Conversations on the Hidden City ‘ is a journey into the spaces of the city often bypassed in public debate and public story-telling: the ship, the slum, the wall, the market-place, the church, the mine, the rooms of sex workers, and even the rural areas, which remain a part of urban life. Eight writers and journalists from South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and the USA have contributed to stories drawing on themes within social science research, and eight academics have given critical responses to the pieces. The narratives cover a range of topics: immigrant African sex workers in Belgium, patterns of urban survival among Tanzanians in Point Area in Durban, the story of a book seller in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, urban prophecy among immigrants in Johannesburg, how immigrants turned an empty square into a vibrant flea market, how marginal residents of Cape Town resist social control through graffiti, the lives of Cape Town dock workers, and the aftermath of the mine worker massacres in Marikana.


Border Farm – Thenjiwe Nkosi

The Border Farm Project was conceived by South African artist/filmmaker Thenjiwe Nkosi and Zimbabwean writer, farm worker, and community spokesperson Meza Weza. It took place over a year, from 2009 to 2010, on a farm on the South African/Zimbabwean border.