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Title:Men with Cookers: Transformations in Migrant Culture, Domesticity and Identity in Duncan Village, East London
Author:Bank, Leslie J.ISNI
Year:1999
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:25
Issue:3
Period:September
Pages:393-416
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:social change
labour migration
History and Exploration
Urbanization and Migration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637679
Abstract:This paper discusses transformations in migrant culture and identity in urban South Africa. It is based on field research in migrant hostels and shack areas in Duncan Village between 1994 and 1997. It revisits the classic ethnography by Philip and Iona Mayer on the Duncan Village township in East London, Natal, in the 1950s: 'Townsmen and Tribesmen: conservatism and the process of urbanization in a South African city', and provides a historical account of the formation, transformation and eventual decline of what the Mayers called 'amaqaba' or Red migrant culture. Contrary to their argument that this cultural style of rural resistance to urban lifestyles, Christian values and Westernization was in a state of terminal collapse by the 1970s, the present author argues that this cultural form was successfully reconstructed within the township after the apartheid State had set about destroying its residential base. The conservative Transkeian migrants managed to rebuild enclaves of 'amaqaba' culture within the transit housing zones and new municipal housing hostels. In the process, they were forced to restructure their cultural form internally by shifting the locus of cultural reproduction from drinking to cooking groups. Still later, the 'amaqaba' culture was gradually dissolved as a rural resistance ideology and reconstructed as an urban resistance ideology. Notes, ref., sum.
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