No visible means of subsistence : rural livelihoods, gender and social change in Mooiplaas, Eastern Cape 1950-1998

TitleNo visible means of subsistence : rural livelihoods, gender and social change in Mooiplaas, Eastern Cape 1950-1998
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsL. Bank, and L. Qambata
Series titleASC working paper
Pagination - III, 142
Date Published1999///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
ISSN NumberIn ringband

Based on fieldwork in Ngxingxolo in 1997-1998, this study highlights some of the key changes that have taken place in the way rural livelihoods have been made in Mooiplaas location, situated 45 km outside the city of East London in the Eastern Cape Province (South Africa). In line with developments elsewhere in Africa, there has been an accelerated shift away from agrarian lifestyles in the rural Eastern Cape, especially since the 1970s. The process of de-agrarianization has occurred more rapidly in South Africa than elsewhere in Africa and can be traced back to the country's early industrialization and the subsequent emergence of the migrant labour system that integrated rural populations into a subcontinental capitalist economy. The working lives of most absent migrants was focused on effecting savings in the city in order to create a rural resource base that could sustain them in retirement. To achieve this men needed women to stay at home in the countryside and work for the 'umzi' (rural homestead). Return migration, regular remittances and immobility of rural women were the key aspects that kept the agrarian economy going in Mooiplaas. In the late 1980s and 1990s the economic and social situation in Mooiplaas changed because of young men and women leaving the village for the city. Without a ready supply of young male and female labour and a serious drought to contend with, the agricultural output of households fell sharply. By the 1990s, pensions and welfare payments had replaced male remittances as the main source of income in Mooiplaas. As the final control of household income increasingly shifted from men to women, there was a shift in household investment from cattle, conceptualized as men's animals, to poultry, which were regarded as women's animals.


Bibliogr.: p. 134-137. - Met bijl

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Citation Key3920