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A case study of women's households, sanitation and care in Zwelitsha, an informal settlement section in Stellenbosch Municipality

Meiring, Reinette (2017-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study highlights the experience of black African women living in poor households on the margins of Franschhoek and their efforts in navigating poverty against the backdrop of “development” in Langrug. Having garnered considerable media-attention as a site of successful informal settlement upgrading, Langrug has become a “celebrity community”. In the context of recent sanitation upgrading interventions, this study investigates networks of care and social reproduction in women’s households in Zwelitsha, Langrug’s most recently-settled section. The study employs a mixed-methods approach to provide a comprehensive account of care. The findings illustrate that poor sanitation conditions and material poverty affect the level of care women can rely on and provide in the household and in the community. This thesis argues that the story of successful development in Langrug is far removed from the reality of the daily lives of many young and unemployed women who reside in Zwelitsha. Despite the significant contributions women make to their households and the community, many women are excluded from accessing the benefits of development. It is women who are well-connected who are able to access the resources and opportunities provided by community benefactors such as community leaders, non-governmental organisations and the state. Moreover, I argue that sanitation upgrading projects in Langrug, which rely primarily on the unpaid and underpaid work of poor women in the community, do not challenge the distribution of power and resources nor the gendered division of care work, and are therefore not transformative. To compensate for the absence of poor sanitation conditions, the care practices of women make up an “infrastructure of care” that sustain and maintain poor households in difficult circumstances.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie beklemtoon die ervarings van swart vroue in arm huishoudings op die buitewyke van Franschhoek en hul pogings om armoede te hanteer, teen die agtergrond van ontwikkeling in Langrug. Media-aandag het Langrug uitgelig as ‘n terrein van suksesvolle informele-nedersetting-opgradering. In die konteks van onlangse ingryping om sanitasietoestande te verbeter, ondersoek hierdie tesis vroue se netwerke van sorg en sosiale reproduksie in die huishoudings van vroue in Zwelitsha, die nuutste afdeling van Langrug. Hierdie studie maak gebruik van gemengde-metodes om ‘n omvattende weergawe te bied van sorg. Die bevindinge illustreer die effek van onvoldoende sanitasietoestande en matieriële armoede op die vlak van sorg waarop vroue kan staat maak en voorsien in die huishouding en in die gemeenskap. Hierdie tesis voer aan dat die verhaal van suskesvolle ontwikkeling in Langrug verwyder is van die daaglikse omstandighede van jong en werklose vroue in Zwelitsha. Ongeag die bydrae van vroue tot hul huishoudings en die gemeenskap, het alle vroue steeds nie toegang tot die voordele van ontwikkeling nie. By voorkeur, is dit egter vroue met strategiese verhoudings wat in staat is om voordele en geleenthede aan te gryp wat voorsien word deur gemeenskapsleiers, niestaatorganisasies (NSO) en die staat. Ek voer aan dat sanitasieopgraderingsprojekte in Langrug, wat hoofsaaklik staatmaak op die onbetaalde en onderbetaalde arbeid van arm vroue in die gemeenskap, nie die verdeling van mag en hulpbronne óf die werkverdeling van sorg uitdaag nie, en sodoende nie verandering teweegbring nie. Om te vergoed vir onvoldoende sanitasietoestande, skep vroue se sorgpraktyke ‘n “infrastruktuur van sorg” wat arm huishoudings ondersteun en onderhou in moeilike omstandighede.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101046
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