SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Youth Day and The Release of Border Towns and Spaces of (In)visibility

On the 16th of June, South Africa will come together and recognize Youth Day. In honor of Youth Day, SIHMA would like to recognize the importance of youth migration and its impacts on the advancement of opportunities. 

To highlight the lived experiences of youth migrants, SIHMA is pleased to announce the release of a new report, Border towns and spaces of (in)visibility: Study of young people on the move in the border towns of Chipata and Katete, Zambia. This report focuses on the lived realities of migrant children who cross borders in search of possibilities. 

Youth migrants inhabit towns located on the border of neighboring countries, hoping to find opportunities to advance through education or employment opportunities. Often crossing daily, youth are vulnerable to the dangers that migration can create. 

Commissioned by  SIHMA, researchers Dr. Glynis Clacherty, Dr. Rebecca Walker and James Clacherty evaluated the relationship of youth on the move, specifically in the towns of Chipata and Katete, both located on the borders of Zambia. Chipata and Katete are two border towns that inhabit migrant youth who are seeking both job opportunities and education. Many young people cross the border daily to attend school or go to work in countries that border Zambia. Others use the two towns as transit to bigger cities and also some will stay there for some time and raise funds to travel further down South to South Africa. 

The crossing of borders by youth is done strategically in order to protect the invisibility of their daily movement. Proximal migration is commonly practiced throughout the youth. Most youth attend schools in bordering countries, often crossing the border everyday without any questioning from immigration officials. Youth movement is being conducted for the advancement of opportunities and the success that youth can obtain within neighboring countries. Despite the opportunities that proximal migration can provide, it is an extremely risky activity. Leaving youth vulnerable to smuggling and trafficking.

It is important to evaluate the relationships of youth and their lives within border towns. Border towns and spaces of (in)visibility, provides an in-depth examination on the impacts that migration can have on both the opportunities and safety of youth. By understanding the lived realities of migrant youth and the policies that impact their safety against vulnerabilities, effective solutions can be determined to protect youth on the move. 

Access the full article here:


By: Paige Poulin



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