On Durban's Docks

On Durban's Docks

Zulu Workers, Rural Households, Global Labor

Ralph Callebert

Hardback
$99.00
eBook
$29.99

University of Rochester Press

Overview

Overview

Offers a new approach to the study of labor on the subcontinent and globally, questioning the relevance of the predominant wage labor paradigm for Africa and the Global South.
On Durban's Docks focuses on dock labor in early apartheid Durban, South Africa's main port city and a crucial node in the trade and communication networks of the Indian Ocean and the British Empire. Although the labor of Zulu migrant dock workers made global trade possible, they lived their lives largely in isolation, both socially and economically, from these global networks.

Using seventy-seven oral histories and extensive archival research, Ralph Callebert examines the working and living conditions of Durban's dock workers and the livelihoods of their rural households. These households relied on a combination of wage labor, pilferage, informal trade, and the rural economy. Dock workers' experiences were thus more intricate than a focus on wage labor alone could capture. Foregrounding such multifaceted livelihoods, Callebert considers the dynamics of gender within dock workers' households as well as their complicated political identities, including their economic nationalism and fervent anti-Indian sentiments. On Durban's Docks thus offers a new approach to the study of labor on the subcontinent and globally, questioning the relevance of the predominant wage labor paradigm for Africa and for the Global South.

Ralph Callebert teaches history at the University of Toronto.

Details

3 black and white illustrations
252 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
Hardback, 9781580469074, December 2017
eBook, 9781787441408, December 2017
University of Rochester Press
BIC HBJH, 1HFMS, 2AB, 3JJ
BISAC HIS047000, BUS022000, SOC031000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Dock Workers in South African History
Dock Workers and the City, 1910s to 1950s
One Head of Cattle Named Salt, Another Named Beans: Livelihood Strategies in the 1950s
Work and Life Between the City and the Countryside
My Children Never Went to Bed Hungry: Gender, Households, and Reproductive Labor
Cleaning the Wharves: Pilferage, Bribery, and Informal Trade
Buffaloes on Noah's Ark: Reimagining Working-Class History
Conclusion: Durban's Dock Workers in Global Perspective
Epilogue
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

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