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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:No Fixed Abode: The Poorest of the Poor and Elusive Identities in Rural South Africa
Author:De Jongh, MichaelISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/823394
Abstract:The itinerant sheep-shearing Karretjie (donkey cart) People of the arid Great Karoo of South Africa are among the poorest of the poor. They represent a rural underclass. Although they trace descent from both the early KhoeKhoen and San, there is no historical continuity between the present-day impoverished foragers and their precolonial nomadic forebears. The wandering lifestyle of the Karretjie People was a response to the expansion of commercial agriculture, especially the production of wool, in the region. Although several factors have recently started a trend toward sedentarism, most Karretjie People are still confined in their temporary shelters on the verges of the country roads. They have no land, or even free access to any space or place. Although they have, for generations, rendered an important service to the agricultural economy of the sheep-farming Karoo, they have remained largely socioeconomically 'invisible' to the local population. Nationally, 'recognition' came with their being arbitrarily categorized as 'coloured' with the apartheid system, but acknowledgement in terms of poverty relief initiatives from successive governments was either not forthcoming or has still to effect their lives significantly. Opportunistically 'discovered' as citizens by the main political parties for the 1994 election, they have become increasingly sensitized to the realities of disempowerment and political manoeuvring. They have, however, not yet asserted themselves. Notes, ref., sum