Land is for people—experiences of the community of Khuis

By: PA Erasmus

Pages 1-7

Abstract: This study is an investigation into the social history of the Tlharo, with the aim of articulating and clarifying the particular nature of their experiences in respect of land-related issues. Their circumstances are described against the background of the course of events as directed and influenced by colonisation, apartheid and the ‘new democratic dispensation’. Apart from the pervasive ideological considerations and hegemonic interests that will be outlined, it will also be shown that the Tlharo have undergone radical changes which have fundamentally altered their world, and that they have often been placed at the mercy of bureaucratic whims.

Subjects: Tlharo, Khuis, history, land, colonisation, apartheid, ‘new democratic dispensation’


Spatial and organisational complexity in the Dwars River Valley, Western Cape

By: C. S. van der Waal

Pages 8-21

Abstract: Access to land and housing in South Africa is of great importance to a range of actors, leading to contested processes and complex organisational interactions. Using the anthropology of organisations and a process ethnographic approach, the spatial and organisational complexity in the Dwars River Valley is investigated. The different actors identified include white farm owners, a range of organisations in four villages with different histories, mainly inhabited by a coloured population (Pniel, Kylemore, Lanquedoc and Johannesdal) and organisations that influence events from outside the valley, including government bodies and NGOs. The contested spatial transformation of a part of the valley indicates how new forms of land use lead to conflict between farm workers and developers and how the quest for heritage conservation impacts on the development of luxury properties. The case study reveals how spatial and organisational complexity is based on processes that contain both continuity and transformation.

Subjects: anthropology of organisations, organisational complexity, Dwars River Valley, housing project, Pniel, Kylemore, Lanquedoc


Four principles of South African political culture at the local level

By: Robert Thornton

Pages 22-30

Abstract: Standard models of political thought derived from Liberal, Democratic and Classical models of political theory do not appear to fully comprehend the structure and processes of political action and culture at the local-level in South Africa. I present a concise model that is based on set of four inter-linked ‘principles’ or concepts that structure political action and sentiment: (1) the equivalence of persons, (2) respect, (3) jealousy, and (4) suffering. These principles form a resilient and powerful structure that govern political action, and are significantly different from the bureaucratic/democratic concepts of (political and jural) equality, (hierarchical) distinction, organisational discipline, and personal achievement that ideally structure action in the ‘modern’ bureaucratic/democratic organisations of national government and global corporate business. In addition, the principles of ‘exit’ and ‘exile’ are advanced as ways to understand the relationship between the local-level politics and national or global-level political process.

Subjects: political organisation, local-level political culture, equivalence of persons, respect, jealousy, suffering, ubuntu


Women, difference and urbanisation patterns in Cape Town, South Africa

By: Andrew Spiegel, Vanessa Watson & Peter Wilkinson

Pages 31-38

Abstract: A point apparently often lost to policy makers is that those for whom policy is designed have very diverse life experiences. The article focuses on two women's experiences of urbanisation: experiences that are extremely different from one another, despite the common political-economic context in which they occurred. It considers these extreme examples in order to demonstrate that a simple disaggregation by gender is insufficient for understanding diversity of lived experience. In doing so it also indicates the inadequacies of the kinds of urban-transition models that seem still to dominate South African housing and urban spatial development policy. And it suggests that a flexible, differentiated and needs-driven set of policies would be far more appropriate if policy is to accommodate the realities of social differentiation and stratification processes that lie beneath the surface of gender and race divides. It also thereby demonstrates the continuing value of thick descriptive ethnography.

Subjects: urbanization, urban housing policy, urban transition model, gender, ethnography


Inclusion of the ‘other’ into the fold: Early mission churches and society in Makweteng, Potchefstroom, South Africa

By: Fanie (NS) Jansen van Rensburg

Pages 39-48

Abstract: ‘Like the narrative of culture, the story of the past is [therefore] a selective account of the actual sequence of events, but it is no random selection’ (Hastrup 1992:9).
In this article observations on the early history of two mission churches in Makweteng, Potchefstroom, South Africa are made. The informal views of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, their formal policies and their responses to both segregation and apartheid are described and compared. At the practical level leaders in these two churches were required to negotiate between their own principles and prejudices and the social and political environment in which they worked. Questions are asked regarding the consistency of the initial approaches of the two missionary endeavours and the practical choices they made in fully accepting the ‘other’. Indications of a change of views and the contribution these missions made to social change in South Africa are also discussed.

Subjects:missionary, othering, civilization, Potchefstroom, Roman Catholic, Anglican


Shipwreck survivor camps: A neglected terrestrial component of maritime archaeology in South Africa

By: Elizabeth van Tonder

Pages 49-56

Abstract: In South Africa there has been limited systematic investigation of shipwreck survivor camps as an archaeological phenomenon. In most cases these sites are investigated purely as an adjunct to work on the associated wreck. The aim of this paper is to explore a basic approach to research on shipwreck survivor camps. Recent work on the location of the São João survivor camp using historical archaeological investigations proved to be successful. During the development of the methodology for this project, it became apparent that a vast amount of knowledge may be gained by studying the behavioural patterns of the survivors themselves, knowledge otherwise not represented in the archaeological record. This paper will not supply the reader with the latest step-by-step methodology in finding shipwreck survivor camps. It simply explores and introduces a new way of thinking that has developed world-wide in the field of maritime archaeology, thinking that is not only more anthropologically orientated, but presents the collaboration of archaeology, history and even psychology with one goal in mind: creating predictive models of shipwreck survivor behaviour. Maritime archaeologist Martin Gibbs has introduced this direction of thinking to his field in Australia, where his research has delivered some very interesting results. The question posed by this paper is: whether this particular approach will be accepted and explored by maritime archaeologists in South Africa. In addition, this paper also aims to encourage maritime archaeologists in South Africa to broaden their research to go beyond simply locating shipwreck survivor camps and concentrating on comparing the artefacts found there.

Subjects: Archaeology, Anthropology, Behaviour, Historical, Maritime, Nossa Senhore da Atalaya do Piheiro, Nossa Sentore de Belem, Port Edward, Portuguese, Psychology, Santo Alberto, São Bento, São Gonçalo, São João, São João Baptista, São Thomé, Shipwreck, Survivor accounts, Survivor camp, Survivors, Shipwreck