Skip to main content

TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2023 from 13:00 – 14:30 SAST/CAT

PLAAS invites you to a webinar titled ‘Cross-border labour geographies in the South African periphery’


The beitbridge-pondrift borderscape in South Africa boasts one of the biggest commercial agriculture estate, private nature reserves, and a diamond mine. The materiality of the sectors such as: bushveld and wildlife in the case of conservation, heavy duty equipment and tailings in the mine and finally, large fields of monocrops in commercial agriculture demonstrate how fundamentally different these sectors are. Furthermore, these three sectors are embedded in well-established value chains and produce fruits and vegetables, good feelings for tourists and diamonds for local and international consumers. The main underpinning justifications of job creation, food security and preservation by the mining, commercial agriculture and nature reserves respectively, further underscore how different these sectors are. Whereas much literature has explored these sectors separately, furthermore, given that these analysis often focus mostly on waged labour, I contend that the mobility of people especially migrant workers and job seekers ties these multiple land uses together. Furthermore, the regional networks of social reproduction cast this landscape and Zimbabwe in the same labour geography. The latter is characterized by documented and undocumented migrant workers who expend their labour under highly exploitative circumstances in order to reproduce themselves and their kin in Zimbabwe. Moreover, this labour geography brings to the fore unremunerated reproductive work of extended family members in Zimbabwe who hold the fort as their kin seek employment in South Africa. I argue that a comprehensive understanding of value production in the beitbridge-pondrift borderscape in South Africa ought to account for these cross-border relations. 

The seminar will be chaired by Prof Moenieba Isaacs  from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape.

Dr Lerato Thakholi, Lecturer at Wageningen University and Research and senior researcher in the Living Landscapes in Action project at PLAAS

Date & time: Tuesday, 28 February 2023 at 13h00 – 14h00
Venue: PLAAS, Boardroom, 2nd Floor Jakes Gerwel Hall (formerly Main Hall), University of the Western Cape
Tel: 021 959 3733


Date & time: Tuesday, 28 February 2023 at 13h00 – 14h00 CAT/SAST
Zoom link:

Dr Lerato Thakholi

Wageningen University

Dr Lerato Thakholi is a lecturer at Wageningen University and Research and a senior researcher in the Living Landscapes in Action project at The Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies. In the past 9 years, Lerato has used conservation as a lens to understand how property and labour regimes are configured in Southern Africa. Studying conservation as a mode of production has enabled her to examine how conservation land use leads to spatial injustice and more broadly inequality. She is currently exploring (migrant) labour and property in cross border landscapes in Southern Africa. Themes that are central to her work include: spatial injustice, race, production of space, commodification of natures and social reproduction.

Read more