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مركز أبحاث التعدديّة الثقافيّة والتنوّع

الجامعة العبرية، جبل المشارف

القدس 9190501

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Grounded liminalities: Independent children and youth at the Zimbabwean-South African Border

Noa Levy- noa2@post.bgu.ac.il

PhD candidate at The Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

 

As a part of the contemporary migration from Zimbabwe to South Africa, Zimbabwean children and youth from various backgrounds have been leaving their homes for more than a decade, establishing independent lives in South Africa. Some of them have decided to stay at the border area, establishing new lives on the South African side of the border, or the Zimbabwean one. Some ended up living in shelters, as others have been living in the streets. Some have been integrated into the informal trade market, as others have been resuming their education. Despite its neglected appearance, the border area seems to provide a wide range of possibilities for independent children and youth on the move.     

Observing the social typology of young Zimbabweans at the border, layers of liminality appear. These boys and girls live in liminal spaces, in a liminal personal and social stage of their lives. They become an inseparable part of the border’s dynamics and the border becomes an inseparable part of them. They shape various spaces at the border area and simultaneously they are shaped by them. The intersections of space, migration and age reveal a unique process of growing up, as instability becomes a way of life and as liminality becomes a stable ground. Exploring the lives of migrating children and youth through spatial lenses, provides us with the opportunity to pay attention to various negotiations, decision-making processes, coping mechanisms and strategies, while learning about the impact that they have on their environments. In addition, it allows us to widen the range of possibilities in current approaches within the research of child and youth migration.