Gender and Behaviour

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Virtuous life and enjoyable life: an overview of the well-being of Zimbabwean migrant women hairdressers in South Africa

John Mhandu, Vivian B. Ojong


This article contributes to the scholarship of migrants’ well-being. In contemporary literature, there is a growing consensus that the subjective well-being of migrants coexists with unhappiness owing constraining spaces of social life in the host countries. This article aims to develop a model of happiness and well-being in the context of international migration. There is no model that sheds light on the happiness and well-being of immigrants in host nation-state. In this respect, the model developed in this article is anchored on the subjective experience of Zimbabwe migrant women hairdressers in Durban. This model deconstructs the use of objective parameters to measure happiness and well-being of migrants in host cities. It deploys subjective perceptions and experience of the said research participants to explain the intensities of happiness and well-being in the host country. This model holds that happiness and well-being of immigrants are derived from job satisfaction, job security, self-actualization and representation of enjoyment that determines the absolute quality of life in the host country. By and large, findings drawn from this research suggest that Zimbabwean women migrants working in Durban as hairdressers appear to be happy and satisfied than those who have remained in Zimbabwe. Thus, en route to understand the subjective well-being of Zimbabwean migrant hairdresser, the article conclude that due to social, political and economic predicament in Zimbabwe, the majority of discoursed participant migrated to Durban owing a vision that it is a more ‘liveable’ space perhaps due economic growth and political stability compared to their home country.

Keywords: Happiness, job satisfaction, job security, representation of enjoyment, self-actualization, andwell-being

AJOL African Journals Online