School of Built Environment and Development Studies Seminar 

Title: On the move: The experiences of migrants in South Africa 

Speaker: Pranitha Maharaj 

Time: 12h30-13h50, 27 August 2014 

Venue: Seminar Room F213, School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Memorial Tower Building, UKZN. Google maps: -29.866933,30.981963 

Abstract: Over the past two decade the number of migrants in South Africa from non-SADC countries has increased steadily. The aim of the study was to shed more insights into the experiences of migrants. The study looks more specifically at their reasons for migrating, their integration in the community as well as their livelihood strategies. In-depth interviews were conducted with migrants residing in the South Beach area of Durban. Though most migrants are said to be mainly motivated by economic incentives, this study has shown that different reasons combine to lead them to migrate. The factors that ‘pushed’ the migrants from their country included high levels of poverty and unemployment, family unification, and poor standards of education. Migrants have been documented as using a number of strategies in order to ensure their livelihood. In order to fight unemployment, migrants sometimes engage in trading and other business activities. Some migrants entered into marriages of convenience so that they could obtain the relevant documentation that would allow them to find employment. This research found that the process of integration is a long and complex process.  Language is a major barrier to integration. The longer they remain in the country, the more opportunities they have to learn how the host community operates. 

Biography: Pranitha Maharaj is an associate professor at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies. She holds a doctorate in Epidemiology and Population Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. She is currently involved in a number of research projects in the field of population studies and has published numerous scientific articles in local and international peer-reviewed journals, abstracts, research reports and chapters in books.  

Planned seminars (This is a provisional schedule. Events will be confirmed about a week before through the mailing list. If you would like to be added to or removed from the mailing list, please contact  

3 September: Sandile Mbatha

10 September: Catherine Sutherland, Glen Robbins and Dianne Scott  ‘Durban as a regional hub: Pro-growth, pro-poor and environmental entanglements’ (Available)

1 October: (Available)

8 October: (Provisional) Mohammed Vawda ‘Health seeking behaviour in the context of high HIV prevalence’

15 October: (Available)

22 October: (Available)

29 October: (Provisional) Christine Jeske ‘This is Not Working: Unemployment and the Good Life in South Africa’

5 November: (Available)

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