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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Deepening democracy: a farm workers' movement in the Western Cape
Author:White, FionaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 0305-7070)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:women's organizations
agricultural workers
social inequality
Abstract:This article explores the internal dynamics and external impact of a South African farm workers' movement, Sikhula Sonke. It looks at the extent to which this women-led 'social movement trade union' has succeeded in improving the livelihoods of Western Cape farm workers. Drawing from the organization's own aims, it investigates whether the movement has created a democratic organizational structure, addressed social and economic inequality on Western Cape farms and effectively challenged unfair labour practices. The article argues that the movement, although facing historical conditions of disempowerment, has set up the foundations of an empowering representational structure. It has begun to address the social challenges of paternalism, patriarchy and racism between workers and, through an effective use of strategies that target both employers and government, successfully challenged numerous cases of unfair labour practice. Furthermore, beyond meeting its immediate aims, there are broader lessons that can be learnt from Sikhula Sonke. The movement deepens participatory democracy in the Western Cape through its ability to empower citizens and its use of political institutions. More significantly, Sikhula Sonke opens up spaces for greater participation in the democratic system by its use of 'radical' and 'moderate flanks' and by exploiting the multidimensional nature of the State. Ref., sum. [Journal abstract]