Compiling various perspectives from borderlands across the SADC region, Migration, Borders, and Borderlands: Making National Identity in Southern African Communities, edited by Munyaradzi Mushonga, John Aerni-Flessner, Chitja Twala, and Grey Magaiza, provides a synthesis of the experiences of borderland residents in this economically and socially integrated region. This book reframes debates around nationalism and belonging in southern Africa as it uses the idea of a “borderscape” to argue that nations are made at the border and in the contestations that take place in the borderlands. Understanding borders and bordering in the SADC region is crucial to understanding how policies made in oft-distant national capitals have played out among borderlands residents over time. The contributors present why national citizens in SADC so often end up in countries distant from where they were born and reside, and why leaders need to be cognizant of this. Exploring gender, history, policy, and the ways that people have moved across borders despite a myriad of restrictions stretching from the early twentieth century to the present, this collection centers the voices and experiences of the most marginal to make the plea for a more humane border regime in Southern Africa and globally.
Munyaradzi Mushonga is the program director for the Africa Studies Program in the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies at the University of the Free State.
John Aerni-Flessner is associate professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, and research fellow in the Department of History at the University of the Free State.
Chitja Twala is professor of history at the University of Limpopo, and research fellow in the Department of History at the University of the Free State.
Grey Magaiza is deputy director for the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies at the University of the Free State, Qwaqwa.
Introduction: Migration, Borders, and Borderlands in Southern Africa in Historical Perspective by Munyaradzi Mushonga, John Aerni-Flessner, Chitja Twala, and Grey Magaiza
Part 1: Bordermaking, Smuggling, and Contemporary Resonances
Chapter 1: “Putting Gunboats on the Lake”: Frelimo’s Guerrilla War and Malawi’s Border Dispute with Tanzania in the 1960s by Michael G. Panzer
Chapter 2: Permit-less Crossing and Tourism: Constructing Border Regimes in the Drakensberg Mountains, 1950s-Present by John Aerni-Flessner
Chapter 3: Posted Passports and Fake Stamps: Documented Mobility, Invisibility, and the Informal Enforcement of South Africa’s Border with Zimbabwe by Xolani Tshabalala
Chapter 4: Contested Borderscapes, Border Farms, and Guided Travels in Zimbabwe’s Struggle for Self-Rule, 1960-1970s by Nicholas Nyachega
Part 2: (Im)Mobilities, Transnational Communities, and Settlement
Chapter 5: “The River is a Natural Resource, not a Border?” Understanding Tonga Borderland Community Responses to State Border Security Policy in Binga District of Zimbabwe, c. 1957 to 2017 by Teverayi Muguti
Chapter 6: Crossing a ‘Ficticious’ Border: Angolan Refugees’ Mobility and Settling Dynamics in the Lower Congo (1950s-1970s) by Ana Guardião
Chapter 7: Angolan and Mozambican Border Towns: Interconnecting and Consolidating Southern African Mobilities by Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues
Chapter 8: Cross-Border Mobility of Mozambicans to South Africa and the Growth of Informal Trade in the City of Xai-Xai, 2005-2022 by Victor Simões Henrique
Chapter 9: Cultural Capital, Virtual Borderlands and the Making of the Southern African Communities in Two Zambian Novels by Mwaka Siluonde
Part 3: Gender and the Politics of (Il)Legal Border Crossing
Chapter 10: ‘You Have to Pay with Your Body’: The Precarity of Subaltern Basotho Migrant Women within the Lesotho-South Africa Border(land)s by Munyaradzi Mushonga and Stephanie Cawood
Chapter 11: Woman Entrepreneurs and Border Jumpers in the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border by Francis Musoni
Chapter 12: Of ‘Paqama Gates’ and ‘Paqama Scouts’: The Innerworkings of Regulated Illegal and Irregular Border Crossing Between Lesotho and South Africa by Chitja Twala and Grey Magaiza
About the Contributors
Migration, Borders, and Borderlands is a distinctive work characterized by historical nuances of various aspects of borders and migrations. Most of the existing books on borders, migrations and attendant disputes and conflicts are largely pivoted on the present, but this volume takes us back to detailed historical case studies that are as enlightening as they are groundbreaking. This is a most welcomed addition to the studies of borders in Southern African historiography and will definitely appeal to a wide audience of readers across disciplines.
Mushonga, Aerni-Flessner, Twala, and Magaiza present a compelling collection of nuanced analyses of the complex and enduring legacies of borders in Southern Africa. In their robust critical engagement with several borderlands, the contributors provide novel insights into the agentic ways in which borders are traversed, manipulated, endured, and undermined by their constituent communities. It sets a new benchmark for historical and contemporary inquiry on borders and identity formation in the region and is likely to become a standard reference for future research.
The book provides interesting historical insights on borders and mobility in Southern Africa. This is a welcome contribution to the emerging scholarship on mobility and borders in countries of the south, away from the usual focus on Europe and North America.