Religion, migration and the building of social support networks in South Africa.
Mapaketi, Mark Elliot.
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Human migration is a social reality that happens every time. With regard to the reasons why people migrate, theorization will remain inconclusive. This is because migration is influenced by both social and personal factors. Examples of social reasons are civil unrest, politics, economics, cultural, religious, etc. At a personal level, individuals have agencies. They decide to migrate, which direction and the destination. No matter how strong social reasons are seen as motivating reasons to migrate, the ultimate responsibility lies in the individual who decides to migrate. Since 1994 (post apartheid) South Africa has received more migrants from other African countries. The coming in of migrants from other African countries has been like unprecedented rockshock which has been noticed by everybody yet nobody anticipated it. As a result, different groups of people and institutions have responded to the coming in of migrants in different ways. One of social institutions that has responded in a visible way to the migration in South Africa is the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Durban. The Catholic Church in Durbans has conceived migrants, especially refugees as victims who need compassionate care. Therefore, it initiated a program (Refugee Pastoral Care) responsible for the welfare of migrants. Despite its good will, the Church could not satisfy all needs of migrants who knock on its door. Migrants, in order to supplement what they get from the RPC, engage the RPC as a springboard to initiate relationships that are significant in accessing personal needs like housing, employment and legal documentation. It is precisely the kind of beneficial relationship that migrants establish within the context of the Church that I set out to inquire. I located the study at the Denis Hurly Centre (DHC). DHC is a place where the Catholic Church in Durban runs its different Social Pastoral Ministries, of which the RPC is just one of them. My focus was the experience of migrants. Therefore, I engaged different methods that involved my observation, participant observation and interviews with semi-structured questions.