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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Comrades, Cats and Country Boys: Youth Style, City Streets and the Politics of Home in East London's Townships, 1950-1998
Author:Bank, LeslieISNI
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:urban youth
urban life
History and Exploration
Urbanization and Migration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This article focuses on the changing identity politics and social position of youth in the townships of East London in the Eastern Cape of South Africa between the 1950s and the 1990s. It is centrally concerned with the fluid and changing relationships between different categories of youth in the city's locations over time. Three categories of youth receive particular attention: the 'oobrighty' or fashion conscious urban youth (also known as the Cats); the comrades or 'amaqabane', the political youth of the 1980s and 1990s; and the rural youth that flowed into the city from surrounding homelands. Arguing that the critical role of rural youth in urban transformation is often underplayed, the author shows that one of the reasons why the comrades in East London were able to consolidate power with such force in the 1980s was because they were able to break down older barriers. He also shows that the convergence of urban and rural youth identities and styles was reflected in the reconstruction of youth domesticity, especially with the large-scale adoption of 'ukuhlalisana' (living together outside marriage) as the preferred domestic style amongst both urban and rural youth in the 1980s. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]