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By Dominic Pasura (auth.)

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In a country of 13 million, it is estimated that two million Zimbabweans live in the diaspora. Estimates suggest that a million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa, some 400,000 (residing) in Botswana and more than 200,000 Zimbabweans in Britain. Within Southern Africa, population movement and cross-border migration has been an integral feature of the region’s political, social and economic landscape. For instance, recently Zimbabwe has been a source, destination and passage for migrants going to work in South African gold mines.

However, the argument has often been made in reverse – white Zimbabweans being invisible because of their race making it easy to integrate in hostlands. Within the same period, Zimbabwe became a source, destination and corridor for migrants going to work in South African gold mines (Zinyama, 1990). As Mlambo (2010) argues, the uneven development of white settler capitalism in Southern Africa, with South Africa and Zimbabwe as epicentres of mining and agricultural development, resulted in the recruitment of migrant labourers from neighbouring Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

As Selby (2006, p. 116) further argues, the pattern of emigration ‘suggests that significant numbers of whites were unwilling to accept the prospects of living as a minority group under majority rule’. However, for Stoneman and Cliffe (1989), the majority of white skilled artisans who left were also scared of competition with black Zimbabweans in the job market. The flight of white Zimbabweans abroad captures what Zeleza (2005, p. 55) refers to as ‘the diasporas of decolonization’, that is ‘indigenous’ Africans, white and Asian settlers, ‘who relocated overseas during the struggles for independence and immediately afterwards’.

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