Seminar: From war refugees to social protesters: Transformations in the South African Lowveld 1850-2013

South Africa’s rural areas experienced important changes since the start of colonial rule. ‘Native reserves’ were transformed into ‘homelands’ in a system that was only undone in 1994. However, the long shadow of the past is evident in current ‘cooperative governance’ by traditional leaders and municipalities. By 2013 protest against poor service delivery across the country pointed to government’s inability to meet expectations since democratisation. Unpacking the disputed transformations of the last few decades in one rural settlement in the Lowveld of the Limpopo Province (based on ethnographic fieldwork in 1986-2013), brings out the complexity of local experience. While the experience of the political transition of 1994 is core to this project, other transformations are equally relevant: loss of and claims on land; Christianisation; migrant labour and livelihoods; reserves morphing into Bantustans and re-emerging as ‘communal areas’; and gendered and generational relationships.
(Photo: protests against the lack of police presence in the village Berlijn in the Limpopo province.)

Photo Kees van der WaalKees van der Waal is a social anthropologist in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, since 2002. He obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Johannesburg (then Rand Afrikaans University) in 1986, based on research on informal sector craftwork and trading in rural areas of the Limpopo Province in South Africa.

Date, time and location

12 June 2014
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 3A06 (3rd floor)

Additional information