SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Recent Research from Across the Continent


The African Human Mobility Review published a series of thought-provoking articles in April 2021 [1]. Interestingly three of the five articles in the edition of the AHMR focus on migrant women. To get an idea of what the AHMR is consider the following: 

The African Human Mobility Review (AHMR) is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed on-line journal created to encourage and facilitate the study of all aspects (socio-economic, political, legislative and developmental) of human mobility in Africa. Through the publication of original research, policy discussions and evidence-based research papers, the AHMR provides a comprehensive forum devoted exclusively to the analysis of contemporaneous trends, migration patterns and some of the most important migration-related issues. The journal is accessible on-line at no charge. AHMR is jointly owned by the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and University of the Western Cape (UWC). [2]

While three of the five articles focus on women on the move in the most recent edition of the AHMR [1], SIHMA’s blog on the move SIHMA has also published, commencing in October 2020, a series on the exclusion of access for migrant women in Africa. Previously in this SIHMA series on the exclusion of migrant women, we have discussed the lack of access to the labour market and the labour-related policy making [3]. The second blog post in the series was devoted to women on the move and mental and physical health and access to health care [4]. The third article talked about the limited access to education for migrant women and girls [5], while the fourth article in the series related to access to housing for migrant women [6]. The most recent article in the blog series addressed access to identity documentation for migrant women [7]. Additionally given the importance of addressing and preventing discrimination, abuse and harassment of migrant women including labour discrimination, sex trafficking, gender-based violence and femicide SIHMA supports the need for and calls for more research and the development strategies and policy to turn the tide and to prevent discrimination, exploitation, abuse and harassment of migrant women going forward. 

Zimbabwean Migrant Women Accessing Public Health Care

Research in the most recent AHMR Issue, volume 7 number 1, addresses the degree to which Zimbabwean Migrant Women in South Africa are able to access public health care [8]. In this qualitative study the paper uses structural-violence analysis to explore basis for challenges faced by Zimbabwean women on the move attempting to access the public health system in South Africa [8]. The article unpacks and considers instances of and the impact of ‘medical xenophobia’ [8].  It is clear from the paper the absence of regular immigration documentation, presents a serious challenge to accessing public hospitals and clinics and futher more the research observes that public health-care system in South Africa predisposes women on the move to health risks [8]. 

COVID-19’s Effect on the Lives and Livelihoods of Congolese Female Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

In another article in this edition of the AHMR [1] addresses the effect of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of Congolese Female Asylum Seekers and Refugees [9]. The economic and social impact of the pandemic on female Congolese asylum seekers and refugees residing in in Cape Town is addressed in this paper [9].. This qualitative study involving women from the DRC found that ‘containment measures imposed by the South African government to curb the spread of COVID-19 significantly increased asylum-seeking and refugee women’s care roles in homes, while rendering paid work more precarious... [and the] article concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing inequalities experienced by female Congolese asylum seekers and refugees and created new ones, with long-term implications for their lives and livelihoods’ [9].

Zimbwean Women Care Workers’ access to the Labour Market in Domestic Services Sector.

The fourth article in the edition also relates to migrant women looking at ‘Recruitment’ and Job-Seeking Mechanisms for  Zimbabwean Women Care Workers in the Domestic Services Sector in South Africa [10]. This article explores the strategies adopted by Zimbabwean women for recruitment and job seeking in the South-South migration flow bearing in mind migration processes and migration status. This qualitative study in Gauteng primarily found as the  majority of Zimbabwean migrant care workers were undocumented or irregular they faced exploitative working conditions [10]. In the absence of regular work visas informal channels to seek jobs are adopted like ‘social networks and the ‘market’’ [10]. The article addresses the implications of mechanisms adopted on the rights, protection and working conditions of care workers.

The other two articles in this edition of the AHMR relate to human mobility in Africa in other respects. The one looks at South African Domestic Remittances considerations towards a legal and regulatory framework and ‘argues that if financial inclusion is to be promoted, the regulatory framework pertaining to domestic remittances should enable, rather than inhibit the use of domestic remittances as a payment service’ [11]. The other  looks at spritiual capital from school for second generation Ghanaians in Amsterdam  considering how ‘spiritual capital accrued from religiosity influences the educational mobility of second-generation migrants’. 

It is a great pleasure for SIHMA in collaboration with the University of the Western Cape to publish the peer reviewed African Human Mobility Review (AHMR) Journal. If you would like to receive the SIHMA newsletter and/or information on the most resent AHMR publication email or to access the AHMR publication visit or .  




If you are interested in contributing the SIHMA Blog on the Move please contact us at: or if you are interested writing an article to be reviewed and published in the African Human Mobility Review, please follow this link on making a submission: 




  8. and Probing the Context of Vulnerability: Zimbabwean Migrant Women’s Experiences of Accessing Public Health Care in South Africa AHMR N.1 2021.pdf 
  9. COVID-19 and its Effects on the Lives and Livelihoods of Congolese Female Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the City of Cape Town AHMR N.1 2021 - / 
  10. Recruitment’ and Job-Seeking Mechanisms for Zimbabwean Women Care Workers in the Domestic Services Sector in South Africa AHMR N.1 2021 /
  11. Towards a Legal and Regulatory Framework for South African Domestic Remittances: Some Considerations AHMR N.1 2021 /
  12. Evidence of Spiritual Capital in the Schooling of 2nd-Generation Ghanaians in Amsterdam AHMR N.1 2021 /


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