An exploration of the lives and livelihoods of African professional migrants in institutions of higher learning : the case of University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Otu, Monica Njanjokuma.
MetadataShow full item record
This study focuses on the lives and livelihoods of foreign African academics at UKZN. The study attempts to unpack the driving forces behind their decision to migrate and why South Africa has become a preferred destination for these migrants. It explores the kind of networks that inform them of employment opportunities that are available in institutions of higher learning in South Africa. It also sets out to explore the kind of skills possessed by these migrants that are needed for the development of skills in the institution. Research findings reveal a combination of micro and macro factors as reasons surrounding foreign African professional migrancy in South Africa. Macro factors are subsumed under general and structural reasons which include high unemployment rates, corruption, nepotism, and other forms of political oppressions and infrastructural problems. Over and above the relative viability of South African institutions with modern technological facilities and well organised curricular and material structures serve as major attractions to foreign African professional migrancy into the country. The factors of cultural affinity and geographical proximity are also among the reasons that foreign African academics at UKZN cited for their migration into South Africa. The individual in this study constitutes the basic unit in providing a more nuanced understanding of why this group of foreigners migrated to South Africa. In this regard personal reasons such as family pressure and change of geographical space form an integral part of reasons surrounding their migrancy in South Africa. Following the professional convenience that UKZN offers, this research showcases the desire expressed by various migrants under this study to pursue and establish a scholarship that would promote and legitimise Africa as an intellectual space of knowledge production. Being a “Premier University of African Scholarship”, professional migrants from the rest of the continent have indicated their willingness to dedicate their services within their different capacities to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of South Africa and Africa. The study shows some contributions that foreign academic are making in the development of the institution. From a social perspective the study highlights how professional African migrants have reconstructed gender roles and household constitution. Transnational migration as shown by this study reveals changing patterns in gender as African women just like the men are engaged in transnational activities for economic and career advancement. African women with educational skills whether married or unmarried have independently undertaken the decision to migrate for economic and social upliftment.