Mean Streets: Our book on migrant entrepreneurs
Mean Streets: Migration, Xenophobia and Informality in South Africa, edited by Jonathan Crush, Abel Chikanda and Caroline Skinner is published by SAMP, ACC and IDRC.
This book powerfully demonstrates that some of the most resourceful entrepreneurs in the South African informal economy are migrants and refugees. Yet far from being lauded, they take their life into their hands when they trade on South Africa’s “mean streets”. The book draws attention to what they bring to their adopted country through research into previously unexamined areas of migrant entrepreneurship. Ranging from studies of how migrants have created agglomeration economies in Jeppe and Ivory Park in Johannesburg, to guanxi networks of Chinese entrepreneurs, to competition and cooperation among Somali shop owners, to cross-border informal traders, to the informal transport operators between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the chapters in this book reveal the positive economic contributions of migrants. These include generating employment, paying rents, providing cheaper goods to poor consumers, and supporting formal sector wholesalers and retailers. As well, Mean Streets highlights the xenophobic responses to migrant and refugee entrepreneurs and the challenges they face in running a successful business on the streets.
For more information, read AFSUN.org Mean Streets brochure, in bookshops everywhere and can be ordered online at:
Have a look at Caroline Skinner’s article about the book, How migrant entrepreneurs are a force for good in South Africa, published in The Conversation.