Mean Streets

Migration, Xenophobia and Informality in South Africa

Abel Chikanda, Caroline Skinner & Jonathan Crush


Book not available in Zimbabwe.


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.


This hard-hitting volume exposes the shameful, indeed scandalous, harassment of ‘foreign’ informal entrepreneurs by South African elites and some of the citizens they claim to lead. - Keith Hart, London School of Economics


Abel Chikanda is an Assistant Professor of African & African-American Studies and Geography at the University of Kansas.

Caroline Skinner is a Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town and Urban Policies Research Director for the global action-research-policy network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).

Jonathan Crush holds the CIGI chair in global migration and development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He was raised in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.