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Radikobo Ntsimane


The socio-economic conditions in South Africa have forced new identities and new responsibilities on individuals who migrate to urban centres in the hope of finding a decent livelihood. Broken family structures, unemployment, poverty, divorce and teenage pregnancy are some of the circumstances that drove three interviewees to form relationships with certain spots on the streets of the city of Pietermaritzburg in order to eke out a living. This article looks at the conditions that brought three interviewees to the city and the streets, and transformed them to adopt new ‘families’ and identify with geographical location for survival. While keeping some ties with their biological relatives, the three interviewees are largely de-traditionalised and find meaning from the streets through innovative and sometimes banal means such as begging and commercial sex work.


family; places; poverty; stories; survival

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