Determinants of the Return Migration of Household Heads from South Eastern Zimbabwe to South Africa During Prolonged Crisis, 2000-16

  • Dick Ranga Zimbabwe Open University – Manical-and Regional Campus, Mutare, Zimbabwe


The study assessed return migration by heads of households that migrated during the prolonged crisis, 2000-16. It collected data among 166 households from four districts in South Eastern Zimbabwe. Most of the male household heads had previously migrated, half of them to South Africa. Non-migrant heads were mainly females who remained behind when their husbands migrated to South Africa or urban areas. Both heads who returned from migrating to South Africa and locally to urban areas came back during 2011-15 with the desire to reunite with families. This period was associated with severe retrenchments by Zimbabwean companies that attempted to survive the shrinking economy. Yet it was also an attractive period to return home for international migrants because of the stability brought by the adoption of multiple currencies. Xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2015 also ‘pushed’ some of the heads into returning home. International return migrants were significantly younger and had lower levels of education than internal and non-migrants. Three-tenths of them returned into households having traditional huts as their main houses which suggested that migration was unsuccessful for them. There is a need for restoration of stability soon after a crisis since this helps attract back human capital.


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How to Cite
RANGA, Dick. Determinants of the Return Migration of Household Heads from South Eastern Zimbabwe to South Africa During Prolonged Crisis, 2000-16. Journal of Social and Development Sciences, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 4, p. 26-35, jan. 2019. ISSN 2221-1152. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 mar. 2019. doi:
Research Paper