Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms

The Roots of Impermanence
Author(s):
  • Publication Date: April 2016
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156 mm, 24 b/w illus. 2 maps, 270 pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-86814-963-6
  • Rights: SADC and Kenya
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 350.00

 

During the Zimbabwean crisis, millions crossed through the apartheidera border fence, searching for ways to make ends meet. Maxim Bolt explores the lives of Zimbabwean migrant labourers, of settled black farm workers and their dependants, and of white farmers and managers, as they intersect on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Focusing on one farm, this book investigates the role of a hub of wage labour in a place of crisis. A close ethnographic study, it addresses the complex, shifting labour and life conditions in northern South Africa’s agricultural borderlands. Underlying these challenges are the Zimbabwean political and economic crisis of the 2000s and the intensifi ed pressures on commercial agriculture in South Africa following market liberalization and post-apartheid land reform. But, amidst uncertainty, farmers and farm workers strive for stability. The farms on South Africa’s margins are centers of gravity, islands of residential labour in a sea of informal arrangements.

In precise, limpid prose, Maxim Bolt brings to life the human ecology of a border farm. Ever alert to the counterintuitive, he shows how stability is fashioned in the midst of the unstable, and how work organises life in a time of mass unemployment. The monograph sheds light on new and important social processes. It is a significant achievement.
— Jonny Steinberg, Author of A Man of Good Hope

Ethnographies of labour and social life on large-scale farming enterprises anywhere in the world, and certainly on the African continent (including South Africa), are remarkably few and far between. Bolt’s study will stand out immediately and very prominently in the anthropology of large-scale farms and plantations regionally and globally.
— Eric Worby, University of the Witwatersrand

A thoughtfully structured and beautifully written book which … deserves to be widely read and appreciated. The book is at a unique intersection of a number of scholarly fi elds, namely labour studies, agrarian studies, border studies, and displacement and migration studies besides the broader discipline of economic anthropology.
— Amanda Hammar, University of Copenhagen

Maps and Figures page
Acknowledgements
List of Key Characters
Chapter 1. Introduction: Labour and Fragmentation on the Limpopo River
Chapter 2. ‘It’s in Our Blood, It’s in Our Skin’: Success, Failure, and Self-Suffi ciency in Border Farming
Chapter 3. Behind the Mountain: Core, Periphery, and Control in the Limpopo Valley
Chapter 4. Producing Permanence: Employment and Domesticity in the Black Workforce
Chapter 5. Reimagining Men: Middle-Class Farm Workers and the Zimbabwean Crisis
Chapter 6. Management’ or ‘Paternalism’?: Race and Registers of Labour Hierarchy
Chapter 7. Scaling Up: The Farms and the Border Economy
Chapter 8. Conclusion: Between Production and Fragmentation
References
Index

Maxim Bolt is a Lecturer in Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Birmingham and a Research Associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), University of the Witwatersrand. His doctoral thesis, on whose research this monograph draws, was awarded runner-up in the biennial Audrey Richards Prize by the African Studies Association of the UK.

In precise, limpid prose, Maxim Bolt brings to life the human ecology of a border farm. Ever alert to the counterintuitive, he shows how stability is fashioned in the midst of the unstable, and how work organises life in a time of mass unemployment. The monograph sheds light on new and important social processes. It is a significant achievement.
— Jonny Steinberg, Author of A Man of Good Hope

Ethnographies of labour and social life on large-scale farming enterprises anywhere in the world, and certainly on the African continent (including South Africa), are remarkably few and far between. Bolt’s study will stand out immediately and very prominently in the anthropology of large-scale farms and plantations regionally and globally.
— Eric Worby, University of the Witwatersrand

A thoughtfully structured and beautifully written book which … deserves to be widely read and appreciated. The book is at a unique intersection of a number of scholarly fi elds, namely labour studies, agrarian studies, border studies, and displacement and migration studies besides the broader discipline of economic anthropology.
— Amanda Hammar, University of Copenhagen

NEWS – 22/08/2016 – Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms is shortlisted for the inaugural award of the ASAUK Fage & Oliver Prize. The prize is awarded biennially to the author of an outstanding original scholarly work published on Africa during the preceding two years. http://www.asauk.net/the-fage-and-oliver-prize/

 

 

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