The struggle for daily life in Durban : Congolese migrants economic survival strategies.
This study explores the livelihoods experiences of Congolese migrants in the city of Durban with particular reference to the various ways and means they utilize in order to survive amid a rough environment in tough times emanating from global economic meltdown sided with economic austerity measures. Qualitative methodology is the approach as the ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘what’ of the Congolese migrants’ economic survival strategies are investigated. The sampling area involved South Beach and Saint Georges vicinities. Five elements from both areas were interviewed using in-depth interviews. Purposive sampling technique was used to identify relevant respondents to which a snowball sampling method was added to help reaching more interviewees. The findings of this study reveal that in the absence of the local government intervention Congolese migrants are left alone to mend their way to develop economic means of survival on the quotidian in Durban. In a country that is Identity driven, their lack of proper documents hinge their integration in the mainstream of the local economy. Police harassment coupled with xenophobic patterns of attitudes from locals jeopardise their livelihoods as they wrestle to reproduce. Their economic contribution to the city is very insignificant owing to issues of disempowerment. They lack skills in general and technical training in particular to adequately compete economically in today’s globalized society. The centrality of this study is that these findings can be extrapolated on other migrants at the provincial and national level and can contribute to design policies that can mitigate the plight of migrants.