Migration in Southern Africa

In this chapter, Johannes Machinya examines the strategies developed by undocumented Zimbabwean daily wage workers, who are predominantly men, in eMalahleni to mediate work-related constraints. Johannes analyses what these men call kukiya-kiya or kubatanidza-batanidza(joining things together to make do), which is a tactical approach for and a logic of ‘getting by’ and ‘making do’, and examines how the Zimbabwean day labourers adopt and cultivate a series of work traits that are guided by the ethics of hardwork, trustworthy and reliability. While this strategy makes Zimbabwean day labourers more attractive to many employers, it simultaneously disciplines them into an exploitable workforce. The analysis gives nuance to the (re)production of undocumented migrant workers’ exploitation by showing how through kukiya-kiya or kubatanidza-batanidza they actively contribute to their own exploitation.  

-chp 16 by Johannes Machinya

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