Opinion Paper

Folklorisation and Reoralisation in Context: Some Narratives on the Current Challenges facing South Africa’s Migrant Labourers

Mogomme A. Masoga
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 4, No 2 | a118 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v4i2.118 | © 2016 Mogomme A. Masoga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2016 | Published: 01 June 2016

About the author(s)

Mogomme A. Masoga, University of Venda, South Africa

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This paper evolved as a result of reading a special note of condolences scribed by two women who are in a polygamous marriage situation from Chikhutu village in Malawi, in 2005. The note was signed by these women as ‘Mama Luhanga and Mama Luhanga,’ the wives of Dada Patson Luhanga, a migrant worker, based in South Africa, with a very strong linguistic, social and cultural background of Tumbuka. The note was meant to ‘comfort and support’ the South Africa based widow, Mme Nanabi Kegakilwe, who lost her husband. Dada Patson Luhanga has been staying on the compound of the late Rre Enoch Kegakilwe for more than twelve years. The existing verbal agreement is that Dada Luhanga will work on the Kegakilwe garden every Saturday of the week, while doing other menial jobs on other days around Midrand in South Africa. As per this agreement, Dada Patson Luhanga was offered accommodation at the Kegakilwe compound pro-bono. Expressly, the note reveals and exposes pains, hurts, and frustrations currently experienced by migrant labourers in South Africa. Recently in South Africa, the crisis of xenophobia, or Afrophobia as some critics prefer to call it, and related spates of violence, add to this challenge. The paper aims to discuss some current South Africa’s migrant labourers’ challenges by making use of theories of folklore and orality. It will use a method of discourse analysis in reading the note and analysing its appropriate hermeneutics of power and identity.


migrant workers; folklorisation; reolisation, Malawi, South Africa


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