Migrant Labour
Food Security in South Africa

© Eric Miller
Inside a diamond mine in Kimberley.
In order to make a living many people opt to leave their rural homes for cities or mines where they can earn an income to send back to their waiting families. This is the reality of migrant labour.

SouthAfrica.co.za explores the migrant labour trends in South Africa, as well as the lives of migrant labourers and the ones they leave behind.

Changes in Migrant Labour in Lesotho

There has been a change in the tidal nature of migration in and out of Lesotho: the number of Basotho miners has dropped from 100 000 to just 46 000 since 1990 due to retrenchments and job cuts, and increasingly these men are older and married...more

Economic Decisions of a Poor Farmer

The following story of demonstrates the kind of economic decisions made in a rural Lesotho household, with a husband who works as a migrant miner. But it is risky business, farming in such a densely populated and poor neighbourhood...more

Food Transfers to Urban Households

Money is not the only kind of resource that gets funnelled back and forth along migration routes – although, globally, cash remittances now make up over US$250 billion annually, a third of which is moving from one developing region to another....more

Migrant Labour in South Africa

The life of living in a home so far away from home is the story of over a century of migrant, mostly black, labourers who the mines have been recruiting from across the region since the first big discoveries of gold in the former Transvaal in 1896....more

Real Life Story: Missing Home

Unskilled labourers migrating between their homes and distant places of work is the bedrock upon which southern Africa’s economies are built....more

Real Life Story: The Last Dinner Together

It is Sunday afternoon, and Thabiso the pastor has shed his dog collar and white tunic. Now he is smart and formal....more

Real Life Story: The Life of a Miner

After nearly three decades on the mines, Thabiso has worked his way up to stope leader – the man who heads the team that prepares the rock wall for blasting. His squad of five will drill into the rock, rig up the explosives and head to the surface....more

Real Life Story: Wife of a Migrant Worker

Mapheello’s story is like so many other women of Lesotho: their men go off to the mines. It is just how it is. Her father was out there in South Africa, deep in the bowels of some or other mine, rigging up reinforcements for a rock roof...more