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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Christmas Time' and the Struggles for the Household in the Countryside: Rethinking the Cultural Geography of Migrant Labour in South Africa
Author:Ngwane, Zolani
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:social conflicts
labour migration
rural households
Urbanization and Migration
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3557437
Abstract:This paper explores a medium which is constituted at the confluence of the persons of migrant workers and the narratives that accrue with their sojourns in the worlds of 'work' and 'home'. It uses anecdotes related to the uprisings of 16 June 1976 in Soweto. These anecdotes reached Cancele, a rural settlement in the district of Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, at 'Christmas time', when local migrant workers came home for the holidays. The main question the paper addresses is what sorts of local social subjectivity were at stake in the set of conflicts, conversations and practices that constituted Christmas time at Cancele. Implicit is a three-pronged argument: first, that there was an articulation among the composition of migrants, their different ways of representing the world and themselves in it, and the material goods and styles of body decoration accompanying their persons; second, that the culture of mobility which this heterogeneous group of people, things and ideas crystallized, was shaped by and gave new accent to, ongoing local struggles; and third, that these local struggles were carried out within, and over, imagined parameters of propriety delimiting the household. In this way the author hopes to suggest a rethinking of the cultural geography of migrant labour in South African studies. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]