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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Cleaning the wharves: pilferage, bribery, and social connections on the Durban docks in the 1950s
Author:Callebert, RalphISNI
Year:2012
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies (ISSN 0008-3968)
Volume:46
Issue:1
Pages:23-38
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:dockworkers
migrants
theft
corruption
1950-1959
Link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00083968.2012.659577
Abstract:This article looks at practices of pilferage and bribery among African migrant dock workers in Durban in the 1950s. Many of Durban's dockers regularly engaged in small-scale theft, usually food for personal consumption, but sometimes they also got their hands on bigger and more expensive items or sold the pilfered goods. Many also relied on their social networks to find jobs and did not shy away from bribing 'izinduna' (African headmen) to make sure that they were hired on ships that contained the right goods. Such crimes, which were often not recognized as such by the workers, have often been seen as forms of primitive and individual resistance to proletarianization. This article, however, argues that these were not just reactive and opportunistic acts, but part of a conscious strategy to combine dock labour with a small business, which allowed several workers to withdraw from the wage labour market altogether. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French [Journal abstract]
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