Zaheera Jinnah


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Zaheera Jinnah has a PhD in anthropology and a background in development studies and social work. Her research interests are in labour migration, gender and diaspora studies. She is a researcher at the ACMS where she teaches, supervises graduate students, and engages in policy and academic research. Her doctoral thesis concentrated on aspects of gender norms, agency and livelihoods among Somali women in Johannesburg.


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Miners’ health dominates Swazi migration dialogue

August 29, 2017 0 Comments

maHp/ ACMS researcher Zaheera Jinnah reports on the National Dialogue on Migration, which was recently held in Swaziland.

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Routes, locations, and social imaginary: a comparative study of the on-going production of geographies in Somali forced migration

August 29, 2017 0 Comments

Drawing on the thresholds approach, a model that incorporates geography and mobility studies to understand migration from the perspective of migrants, this article examines the importance of location and route(s) in determining the journeys of Somali migrants.

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Work and wellbeing on the urban periphery

May 18, 2017 0 Comments

The latest maHp research collaboration with Security at the Margins (SeaM) sought to understand the labour and health/wellbeing conditions that informal artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) communities on the periphery of Johannesburg reside in (download the full report here).

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The bodies behind the ban

May 10, 2017 0 Comments

As we marked the first 100 days of a Trump presidency riddled by fear, fake news and chaos, it is worth reflecting on the bodies affected by some of the more harsh policies and rhetoric that have been unleashed by the new American president.

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A Vibrant Civil Society, a Free Press, and an Independent Judiciary – last remaining bastions of democratic South Africa

March 24, 2017 0 Comments

The obligation to uphold the constitution and advance the realisation of rights for people living in South Africa has fallen on a combination of three pillars: the press, the courts and NGOs.

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Xenophobic Violence Reveals a Crisis in Policing and Leadership

March 10, 2017 0 Comments

The ongoing unrest and violence in South Africa’s urban areas and townships emphasises, once again, the breakdown in the rule of law. As has often been the case in post-apartheid South Africa, protests and community anger have been mobilised against the outsider, the black foreigner who is the target of wrath and fury. But this round of violence goes deeper, revealing fractures and issues of credibility in elected political leadership.

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Trump’s Muslim ban unfair and ineffective

February 1, 2017 0 Comments

President Trump’s order effectively shuts the door not just on migrants and refugees but on the very principles of justice, writes ACMS / maHp researcher Zaheera Jinnah.

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In the Shadow of a State: Self-Settlement Strategies and Informal Governance Amongst Somalis in Johannesburg

January 11, 2017 0 Comments

This article explores the role of informal governance and institutions in the self-settlement strategies of Somalis in South Africa.

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Shifting Families

December 5, 2016 0 Comments

This project examines the intersection of migration and family using multi-sited case studies in Johannesburg (South Africa), Fes (Morocco), and Berlin (Germany). The main aim of this project is to interrogate the notions and dynamics of African migrant families in the context of contemporary and multi-directional migration flows in three urban spaces.

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Zama Zamas: Women of Stone

November 22, 2016 0 Comments

“Grinding stones is like grinding peanut butter,” one of the women working on an illegal “crushing” site near Johannesburg explained recently, “but on stones you use your whole power.”

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Cultural Causations and Expressions of Distress: a Caste Study of Buufis Amongst Somalis in Johannesburg

November 10, 2016 0 Comments

Buufis is a well-known concept among Somalis at home and in the diaspora, although its meaning shifts across time and space. Literally meaning ‘to blow, or inflate’ in Somali, buufis initially referred to the dream of resettlement among Somalis in refugee camps in Kenya in the early 1990s…

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Artisanal Small-Scale Mining & Well-Being

August 8, 2016

In this project we examine one form of informal work, small scale and artisanal mining and explore its connection to the urban economi(es), both formal and informal.

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Between a rock and a hard place: Informal artisanal gold mining in Johannesburg

June 28, 2016

On the western periphery of Johannesburg, with the famous skyline of the city silhouetted in the early morning sun, Bongani is beginning another day of work.

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