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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Borders of mutuality, frontiers of resistance: paternalism and working identities of farm labourers in the Sundays River Valley, South Africa
Author:Connor, TeresaISNI
Periodical:African Studies (ISSN 1469-2872)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:agricultural workers
group identity
labour relations
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2013.851466
Abstract:This article deals with the practice of work on farms in the Sundays River Valley, a farming district located near the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Situated on a historical frontier zone where land has been claimed by multiple generations of both farmers and farm workers, the author analyzes the incidence of paternalism and payment in kind on one particular farm in the district, with particular reference to ostrich work. The author points out that paternalism has meaning beyond that of subservience and enslavement, and that working relationships among masters and servants have produced a very rural and conservative 'Red' identity among workers, based on historical claims to land and a working knowledge of farming techniques. The article argues that this type of 'frontier paternalism' produces ways in which workers can resist working practices on farms, particularly through sustaining ties with kin and maintaining memories of past tenure on farms in the district. Overall, the article argues that the relative recency of tenure relationships in the Sundays River Valley re-orientates the analysis of farm labour beyond subservience, and centralizes workers as people with a vested history, culture and identity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]