Journey mapping: Life histories of farm workers in Laingsburg district

Presenter(s): Inge Conradie (Co-author: Annabelle Wienand)

Abstract / Description:

This was a case study of the life histories of fifteen casual workers from Laingsburg. With the livelihood difficulties associated with the casualisation of farm workers, the question was raised of why this group of workers return to a community which offers them very little by way of escaping these difficulties? This study found that in fact, not all casual agricultural workers are former permanent on-farm workers. It reveals a more complicated life trajectory than that ascribed to the average casualised farm worker in South Africa.

This group of men have been casual labourers for most of their lives and hence the shifts in agricultural employment practices, due to decades of unremitting legislative changes, have had a relatively small impact on their lives. They are not necessarily trapped in the agricultural sector or rural communities, rather there are factors, such as a distinct association of the city with danger, pushing them towards Karoo living. Simultaneously there are strong pull factors keeping them rooted in this community: their self-association with a farm worker identity, a migratory tradition and social networks as sources of employment, income security and high dependence on grants are all factors that play into the life and work trajectory this group of casual workers

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 -
13:00 to 14:00
Venue: 

CSSR Seminar Room 4.29,Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus

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