Families, childhood and migration

Families, childhood and migration

This theme explores the intersection of family and migration in the context of contemporary African mobility. Animated by theories of integration, transnationalism, resilience, and using multi-sited and mixed methods, the theme explores the meanings, functions, performance and responses of families to migration, both forced and voluntary.  Through various projects the theme interrogates issues pertaining to families in the diaspora, migrant children, marriage and relationships, sexual and reproductive health, belonging, discrimination, endurance and violence.

Below are the projects that fall under this theme, followed by their updates.

Maternal and Child Health

This research project focuses on the nexus between migration and urban health in the context of urban inequality, health inequity, xenophobia and anti-foreigner sentiments in South Africa and Johannesburg in particular.

Shifting Families

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.

Independent Migrant Children

This qualitative study seeks to understand the different experiences and perspectives of migrant children who migrated to South Africa with regards to how they negotiate with different discourses of femininity and masculinity…

Mothering and Families

Under this project we take migration as a lens to explore the ways in which forms of vulnerability, as created and shaped by the urban spaces of the city, are encountered and negotiated in the everyday city lives of migrant women…

Young People, Migration & Health

This project engages with and explores the heterogeneous experiences of young migrants in order to understand how migration affects their lives, including overall health and well-being, belonging, gender, representation, and livelihoods.


Poking the wound – research, stories and process – thinking through the complexities

maHp/ACMS postdoctoral researcher Becky Walker’s latest blog reflections on her current arts-based research project with migrant women/mothers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi who live in inner-city Johannesburg, and are seeking asylum. 

Researching violence with children: experiences and lessons from the UK and South Africa

The impact of violence on children’s health and development has had growing attention in global and national politics. This article highlights key messages and learning points from the experiences of researchers who have worked with children and violence across the different contexts of the UK and South Africa.