The Role of Amateur Football in Circular Migration Systems in South Africa

Malte Steinbrink

Abstract


This article explores the significance of amateur football for the changing patterns of circular migration in post-Apartheid South Africa. Even after the end of Apartheid, the abolishment of the migrant labour system has not brought a decline of circular migration. The state-institutionalised system has merely been replaced by an informal system of translocal livelihood organisation. The new system fundamentally relies on social networks and complex rural-urban linkages. Mobile ways of life have evolved that can be classified as neither rural nor urban. Looking into these informal linkages can contribute to explaining the persistence of spatial and social disparities in “New South Africa”. This paper centres on an empirical, bi-local case study that traces the genesis of the socio-spatial linkages between a village in former Transkei and an informal settlement in Cape Town. The focus is on the relevance of football for the emergence and stabilisation of translocal network structures.

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