Migrant youths’ survival strategies for their sustainable livelihoods: The case of Musina in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

  • Dillo Justin Ramoshaba
  • Selelo Frank Rapholo
  • Khutso Mamadi


This paper presents qualitative findings on the survival strategies employed by migrant youth in Musina which is in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Southern Africa encounters an exceptional international human mobility. Several studies reveal South Africa as a host country for a large number of immigrants, particularly migrant youth who come from other African countries. Upon their arrival in South Africa, studies reveal that immigrants encounter a vast number of challenges for their sustainable livelihoods. It is from this background that this study sought to e xplore migrant youth’ survival strategies for their sustainable livelihoods. The study employed a qualitative approach and a case study design wherein Musina was used as a case study. Ten migrant youth were purposively and conveniently selected to participate in this study. Data which is analysed thematically through the assistance of the Nvivo software was collected through face to face semi-structured interviews. Resilience theory was used to guide this study. Findings reveal that bad economic conditionsfrom countries of origin pushed young people to South Africa for better livelihoods, however, due to lack of funds, some crossed borders fraudulently for their survival. Upon their arrival in South Africa, findings further revealed that some migrant youth engage in criminal acts to make a living. It was also found that some migrant youth are involved in sex work to make a living. Social networking with their counterparts, street vending, cheap and exploitative labour were also found to be strategies employed by migrant youth for their sustainable livelihoods. It is thus concluded that migrant youth in South Africa are exposed to bad conditions upon their arrival in the country for their sustainable livelihoods. Proper programmes specifically tailored for immigrants should be developed so as to mitigate this phenomenon.


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eISSN: 1596-9231