Border Jumping and Migration Control in Southern Africa

Border Jumping and Migration Control in Southern Africa

Francis Musoni
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-04715-1
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With the end of apartheid rule in South Africa and the ongoing economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the border between these Southern African countries has become one of the busiest inland ports of entry in the world. As border crossers wait for clearance, crime, violence, and illegal entries have become rampant. Francis Musoni observes that border jumping has become a way of life for many of those who live on both sides of the Limpopo River and he explores the reasons for this, including searches for better paying jobs and access to food and clothing at affordable prices. Musoni sets these actions into a framework of illegality. He considers how countries have failed to secure their borders, why passports are denied to travelers, and how border jumping has become a phenomenon with a long history, especially in Africa. Musoni emphasizes cross-border travelers' active participation in the making of this history and how clandestine mobility has presented opportunity and creative possibilities for those who are willing to take the risk.

Author Bio

Francis Musoni is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and a Research Associate at the African Center for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand.



Explores the history of border-jumping from what is now Zimbabwe to what is now South Africa. Francis Musoni contends that this cross-border movement has a long history and needs to be considered beyond the conventional framing of legality and illegality.


 (Martin Murray, author of Commemorating and Forgetting: Challenges for the New South Africa)


Given the crises that have shaken Zimbabwe since the start of this century, more and more media, policy, and scholarly attention has been directed toward human migration across Limpopo River, the wider politics shaping those crossings and their shifts, and some of the tactics and strategies of both the migrants and those seeking to control their travel.


 (Blair Rutherford, author of Farm Labor Struggles in Zimbabwe)

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Table of Contents




List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Introduction: A Site of Contestations: The Zimbabwe-South Africa Border and Illegal[ized] Movements Across it

1. Colonial Statecraft and the Rise of Border Jumping

2. Promoting Illegality: South Africa's Ban on "Tropical Natives"

3. Border Jumping and the Politics of Labor

4. Apartheid, African Liberation Struggles and the Securitization of Cross-Limpopo Mobility

5. Crossing the Boundary Fence: The Zimbabwe Crisis and the Surge in Border Jumping

Conclusion: The Past in the Present: Border Jumping as a Legacy of the European Partition of Africa