The Politics of Boundaries: The Shifting Terrain of Belonging for Zimbabweans in a South African Border Zone

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  • 1 Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1S5B6, Canada

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Abstract

This paper examines Zimbabwean immigrants in northern South Africa and the ways through which they are able to claim, or not, some form of belonging. Drawing on the concept of “political subjectivity”, I trace the changes in the power relations shaping the forms of belonging operating on the commercial farms and the border town of Musina since 2000 and the concomitant shifts in some of the Zimbabweans’ tactics in these spaces. In particular, I look at the political subjectivities of “Zimbabwean farm workers” and “Zimbabwean woman asylum-seekers”. This analysis shows what particular imaginaries have become authoritative for differently situated Zimbabwean immigrants and denizens in this region, enabling particular claims for resources, accommodation, and belonging.

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