Recent and upcoming events
Informed by critical pedagogies, how does an instructor of doctoral students in Africa effectively design an interdisciplinary course on diverse cultures of dissent and resistance? What could be the rationale and content of such a course within a public university? Based on reflexive immersion within a three-months’ fulltime residential fellowship devoted to developing a teaching course and analysing ethnographic data, I critically examine the processes and challenges of developing a well-theorised and grounded interdisciplinary course. I discuss themes and materials for a course entitled “Protest, Rebellion and Dissent in Revolutionary Social Movements”. I also analyse in detail the specific application of one thematic focus on women’s resistance through participation in Uganda’s recent elections. In addition to highlighting potential impacts of such a course upon both instructor and students, and highlighting key findings of the ethnographic research, the paper contributes towards discussions of Africanising critical pedagogies through decolonising doctoral curricula.
There has been a turn to narrative in social science as a way of understanding how citizens understand and relate to the social world. As human beings our lives are “storied” and this is a rich area of analysis for social scientists. Narratives can take many forms be it the written word, spoken or even in the case of visual narratives. The written narrative is what is of interest in this particular paper. In a pilot study that is part of a wider PhD project; young people in secondary schools in Kenya were asked to write a letter to the President of the Nation. This paper will report on the findings from these letters through a narrative analysis lens influenced greatly by the work of Corrine Squire, Catherine Riesman and Molly Andrews. This is in an effort to highlight how young people are reproducing and contesting popular political attitudes and how their interpretations give us an insight into their understanding of the past and hopes for the future.
This presentation is an attempt to think through intergroup interaction and social change in the Hex Valley – the grape farming region that was the centre of the Western Cape farm workers’ strike – using the work of Drury and Reicher (2000). They argue that social identity is a model of one’s location in a set of social relations as well as the actions that are proper and possible given that location. However, rather than assuming that people in crowd events only act in ways that are determined by their social identity, Drury and Reicher ask how one’s model of social relations can become modified by acting in terms of that model. This is possible because crowd events are unfolding, dynamic intergroup interactions in which one group’s actions are interpreted by the other in sometimes unanticipated ways and form the context for its response. The relationship between identity, intention and consequence is therefore not a straightforward one. Of crucial importance in the development of the intergroup relationship, then, are groups’ constructions of one another’s actions, as these render certain responses legitimate and justifiable (Stott, Drury & Reicher, 2013). This presentation is an attempt to apply these ideas to events in the Hex Valley. In this view, the strike was but one moment in a longer history of developing intergroup interactions. Beginning rather arbitrarily with the strike itself, striking workers levelled a challenge at farmers which farmers were able to evade because of their construction of themselves as blameless, the strike as politically motivated and its instigators as evil-intentioned. This non-engagement led to greater frustration on the part of workers, leading to further violence and eventually to the government’s intervention with the R105 minimum wage. In response, farmers have retrenched more workers and reduced hours – which further angers workers who interpret this as a racist ‘punishment’ of strikers rather than as economic necessity. Thus, it is only possible to understand the development of events and changes in the social fabric by understanding groups’ (often incompatible) interpretations of one other’s actions. This analysis implies that history is contingent rather than predestined and that while history in this area is heading in a particular direction, something is needed to break the cycle of morally justified protests leading to further misery and poverty.
Since the 1980s photographs have played an important role in shaping public perceptions of HIV/AIDS. News reporting on HIV/AIDS has tended to rely on stereotypes which have limited understanding of the epidemic and how it affects different parts of the world. These stereotypes have also tended to reinforce existing prejudices against specific groups of people and regions. In particular, the photographic representation of HIV/AIDS in Africa has largely reproduced familiar images of Africans as ‘victims’. South African photographer Santu Mofokeng provides a radical and alternative way of seeing, and thinking about, the epidemic. This paper considers how Mofokeng’s work provides an opportunity to reflect on the spiritual and social challenges raised by the HIV epidemic in South Africa. Mofokeng’s work strongly resists and challenges stereotypes associated with HIV/AIDS in Africa and offers a powerful alternative way of visually and intellectually engaging with the epidemic.
The provision of real property rights through titling and informal settlements upgrading is thought to have effects that improve slum conditions and reduce poverty. Given the increase in slum-dwellers in developing countries, this is an increasingly important subject. Hitherto, the evidence is scarce, exaggerated, and riddled with serious methodological problems. This paper investigates the effects of subsidized low income housing in Khayelitsha, an urban township in Cape Town, South Africa. It relies on evidence from circumstances in housing allocation that mimic a natural experiment. Using Difference-in-Differences estimation and OLS regressions, I find that freehold titling improved self-reported physical health status and led to an increase in the proportion of teenage pregnancies among beneficiaries. I do not find evidence in support of the hypotheses that real property rights increase labour market participation, household per-capita income and wealth, school dropout rates, psychological health status, and neighbourhood stability and citizen behaviour. The study contributes by examining a more holistic set of effects than most of the studies in the literature which tend to examine at the most three effects in one case study. This is useful for cross-country comparisons. In addition to examining the economic effects in this context, it also makes a more specific contribution by systematically examining the effects of titling on social and political facets in developing countries, which have hitherto remained largely understudied.
South African agriculture faces many difficulties in the post-Apartheid era, and yet, as a labour-intensive industry it is important for combating unemployment. This paper investigates the drivers of labour productivity and wage structures on fruit farms in the Western Cape, in the aftermath of a minimum wage imposition. Results show that gender, language and number of dependants are significantly correlated with labour productivity on farms. The current picking workforce is overwhelmingly of African descent and employed in casual jobs. Results show that productivity lower on a Monday and Friday than during the rest of the week, perhaps as a result of the legacy of the dop system. The labourers on the three farms are paid on a piece-rate system and it would appear that none earn below the minimum wage of R11.67 an hour, but rather that most earn up to 1.5 times the minimum wage. The discussion suggests ways in which both output per worker and the living standards of workers can be improved.
This paper reports on a questionnaire survey of 64 small stock farms covering 80% of the farmers and 50% of the land in the Laingsburg district in the Central Karoo of South Africa. The survey found a lambing rate (live lambs born per ewe mated) of 80%, a sales rate (lambs sold per ewe mated) of 57% and a total confirmed stock loss rate (lambs plus ewes lost per ewe mated) of 13%. Predation accounted for between two thirds and three quarters of all livestock losses and disproportionately targeted lambs that have been tagged already but where still with their mothers. The average net revenue from mutton sales was R230 per ewe, which was marginally higher than the average of R210 reported for lifestyle farmers (gentlemen or hobby farmers). For commercial farmers, profitability increased with farm size, from R130 to R309 per breeding ewe. If predator losses could be eliminated, the profitability of the average farm’s mutton enterprise would more than double. The annual depredation impact was estimated to be R9.33 per hectare, R99 per ewe mated, R76000 per farm and R7.7 million for the Laingsburg district as a whole. All prices are in 2012 ZAR. However, despite these large costs charged to predation losses, predators were found not to be the main reason for Karoo farmers’ financial vulnerability.
Keywords: human -wildlife,sheep profitibility,reproductive efficiency,black-backed jackals caracals,Central Karoo.
This was a case study of the life histories of fifteen casual workers from Laingsburg. With the livelihood difficulties associated with the casualisation of farm workers, the question was raised of why this group of workers return to a community which offers them very little by way of escaping these difficulties? This study found that in fact, not all casual agricultural workers are former permanent on-farm workers. It reveals a more complicated life trajectory than that ascribed to the average casualised farm worker in South Africa.
This group of men have been casual labourers for most of their lives and hence the shifts in agricultural employment practices, due to decades of unremitting legislative changes, have had a relatively small impact on their lives. They are not necessarily trapped in the agricultural sector or rural communities, rather there are factors, such as a distinct association of the city with danger, pushing them towards Karoo living. Simultaneously there are strong pull factors keeping them rooted in this community: their self-association with a farm worker identity, a migratory tradition and social networks as sources of employment, income security and high dependence on grants are all factors that play into the life and work trajectory this group of casual workers
Policies and laws are important in shaping family and personal relationships both in terms of the assumptions they make about normative family life but also in the resources they provide to improve people’s well-being.
The workshop sets out some of the ways in which the law and policy in South Africa affect family lives and relationships. Drawing on new in-depth research on people’s experience of customary marriage and research on care, the workshop will address questions of how to support care and commitments in personal and family relationships. The workshop hopes to provide a considered and politically relevant perspective on these issues, important for researchers, policy-makers and students alike.