Circular migration during COVID-19: reflecting on the social and cultural significance of 'home'

SOURCE: HSRC Review
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2020
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Bank
KEYWORDS: COVID-19, EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE, MIGRATION
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Web link: http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/review/hsrc-review-july-2020/circular-migration-during-covid19
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11513
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15397

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Abstract

The arrival of COVID-19 in South Africa has been like putting dye in water; moving across the surface as flow determines spread, it leaves clear and detectable patterns. Lockdown was meant to keep all of the dye in one place but it spread across the country, including into the Eastern Cape where hotspots have emerged in Chris Hani and OR Tambo district municipalities. The movement patterns indicate that circular migration, migrant labour and double-rootedness remain significant features of the South African political economy. A new book, Migrant Labour after Apartheid: The Inside Story, argues that this movement is driven from below rather than scripted by capital and the state from above.