Affordable Access

The drift from the farms to town : a case study of migration from white-owned farms in the Eastern Cape to Grahamstown

Publication Date
  • Gn Anthropology
  • Hn Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform
  • Economics
  • Political Science


The study deals with the migration of large numbers of black workers from white-owned farms in the Albany and Bathurst districts to Grahamstown. In South Africa the migration of farm residents to the towns has not yet received much attention from researchers. Instead, most migrant studies have concentrated on the migration from the 'homeland' areas and for this reason little is known about the people who have been associated with the farms in some cases for five generations. From the 1940s these farms were rapidly losing labour largely on account of the introduction of mechanization and land rationalization. At that time many farm dwellers were migrating to Grahamstown and, to same extent, Port Elizabeth. The past few decades witnessed a massive further migration from these farms and this, together with natural increase, contributed to the 53,9% increase in Graharnstown's black population in the 1970-80 decade. The study has these aims: 1. To consider the factors that have promoted the move away from the farms , especially as from the end of the Second World War. 2. To account for the overwhelming attraction of Grahamstown as a destination among those who must, or decide to, migrate. 3. To assess the mode of adaptation of those who settle in Grahamstown pennanently. Those who have been in town for several decades provide a background for the central focus of the study, the new irrmigrants who came to town a decade ago or more recently. The latter include people who migrated to town from August 1984, i.e. during a period of extra-ordinary political developments and serious unrest in Grahamstown. The study places an emphasis on the way the imnigrants themselves perceive the process. The aims of the study which have been mentioned above revolve around the impoverishment of rural inhabitants who must now work for wages with hardly any measure of autonomy over the major aspects of their lives while those who go and live in town must contend with a competitive urban economy in which economic opportunities are scarce. This is the central problem of this thesis.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times