Mary's room : a case study on becoming a consumer in Francistown, Botswana

TitleMary's room : a case study on becoming a consumer in Francistown, Botswana
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsW.M.J. van Binsbergen
EditorR. Fardon, W.M.J. van Binsbergen, and R.A. van Dijk
Secondary TitleModernity on a shoestring : dimensions of globalization, consumption and development in Africa and beyond
Pagination179 - 206
Date Published1999///
Place PublishedLeiden [etc.]
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, Botswana, consumption, identity, rural-urban relations, urban women

This chapter presents an extended case study of the personal experiences of a young Kalanga woman in Francistown, Botswana, as she moves from village girlhood to incipient urban consumerism. After describing the urban setting of Francistown and the expansion of the town's residential space under the Self-Help Housing Agency (SSHA) project in the 1980s, the author relates the story of Mary's transition from village to urban life, with its vastly increased levels of commodity consumption. He describes her initial rural-orientated identity embodying the productive and reproductive tasks defined for women in a village setting, the conflictive character of her village-oriented ties in the domain of kinship and, to a lesser extent, organized Christian religion, her tentative adoption of a new, socially negotiable identity through new aspirations based on the selection of a different reference group (urban female workmates and co-tenants), her learning of the role of "modern, urban consumer", her definition of a career goal, and her budgetary strategies (rotating credit or 'motshelo', and hire purchase). The narrative is based on participant observation and interviews over a period of five years from 1988. Bibliogr., notes, ref

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key1538