Vulnerabilities of African female refugees in South Africa : a case study of Albert Park area.
The fear of being persecuted has led to thousands of refugee women fleeing their countries of origin to seek safety in South Africa. However, this has proved an elusive aspiration. This dissertation investigates the vulnerabilities of African refugee women in South Africa with specific reference to the Albert Park area in Durban. The objectives of the study were to: understand the life histories of refugee women; evaluate South African refugee policies since 1994; explore the vulnerabilities of refugee women and evaluate government and non-governmental organizations‟ responses to the vulnerabilities of refugee women in the Albert Park area. Structuration and elements of feminism influenced the theoretical framework of the study. Life histories and in-depth interview methods were used to collect primary data. Snowball and purposive sampling methods were used to select participants. The migration of refugee women was mainly caused by conflict and many lost their loved ones, and had also been sexually and physically attacked. During the journey, refugee women were often sexually abused by gangs, truck drivers and border officers. In South Africa, the rights of refugee women were violated as they were denied refugee status permits and their safety and security were not guaranteed. They also faced difficulties in finding accommodation and employment, and could not access government social services, even though this is constitutionally guaranteed. Most female refugees in the Albert Park area have survived through the support of non-governmental organizations such as Refugee Social Service, Lawyers for Human Right and church-based organizations.