Migrants and Strangers in an African City
Exile, Dignity, Belonging
Indiana University Press 2012
Every so often a book lands on my desk about something so obviously interesting that I have never really considered it before. Bruce Whitehouse‘s Migrants and Strangers in an African City: Exile, Dignity, Belonging (Indiana University Press, 2012) is exactly like that, tackling something that is an integral part of the lives of millions across the continent of Africa, and so familiar as to almost be ignored: migration between African countries.
The book is the result of extensive fieldwork by Bruce in Congo Brazzaville, examining the lives of West African immigrants (initially from Mali, but from other neighboring countries as well) who had moved there for work, and the challenges they face. Why were they there? What were they doing? How long did they want to stay? What were they there for?
The result is an in-depth study that provokes more questions about other migrants in other settings across the continent. It opens a window on the motivations, lives, achievements and frustrations that affect so many Africans, and it is a story well worth reading about – but first have a listen to the interview!