Fathering and Gender Transformation in Zimbabwean Transnational Families

Admire Chereni


Migration research in Southern Africa has paid little attention to migrant men's involvement in the family, including their emotional and cognitive work, as well as associated gender transformations. Based on a qualitative study of six Zimbabwean migrant fathers in Johannesburg and three non-migrant women in Zimbabwe, this article argues that transnational migration at once presents opportunities for and obstacles to the reconstitution of gender-normative forms of parental involvement in migrant families. The analysis of the narratives of migrant men and their spouses demonstrates that, although maternal and paternal roles may become considerably indistinct in the context of transnational separations, non-migrant women may emphasize gender-normative expectations in their negotiations with distant fathers when faced with huge responsibilities at home. Such negotiations tend to reinforce gender-normative parenting in transnational split families.



transnational fathering; gender; intensive mothering; Southern Africa; migration; content analysis, semi-structured interview; multi-sited fieldwork

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2248

Copyright (c) 2015 Admire Chereni

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