News & events


The condition of unfreedom: Super-exploitation and subjugation of women on farms in Umgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal

22 August 2019
12:30 - 14:15

Speakers: Ms Laurel Oettle, Director and Ms Juba Khuzwayo, Deputy Director, Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA)
Chair: Ms Shirin Motala, EPD, HSRC

Date: Thursday, 22 August 2019
Time:  12h30-14h15
Venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town (Videoconferencing facilities: see below)

How are women farm dwellers kept compliant and submissive as workers, wives and citizens?
How are they forced to accept the long hours involved in seasonal work that is paid below minimum wage? How are they forced to live in un-serviced, uninhabitable houses that increase their labour hours and put their health and the health of their children and families at risk?

Drawing on a survey of 850 farm dweller households in the Natal Midlands conducted in 2017, the presenters attempt to sketch a picture of extremely high levels of poverty, unemployment and violation of rights and how these bear down on women farm dwellers in particular ways. The study findings provide a way of understanding how the mechanisms of power relations on farms in post-apartheid South Africa are generated and maintained in contemporary South Africa. It unpacks the intersection of race, gender and class that has generated this gendered precariousness, which has its long roots in colonialism and apartheid.

The study was conducted by Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA), a rights advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO), celebrating over forty years in the land struggle, working to support marginalised black rural people, with a focus on farm dwellers. AFRA’s work strives towards a vision of an inclusive and gender equitable society where rights are valued, realised and protected.

During the seminar an AFRA documentary Qina Mbokodo – Be Strong, like a Rock will be screened, giving voice to the largely voiceless women farm dwellers, who explain how this gendered super exploitation is secured and maintained. “To get a job, I am expected to give sex to the manager (and sometimes the owner). I live on this farm and I have children to feed. If I want a job and a home, there is nothing I can do.”

Kindly RSVP by 21 August 2019

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference Room, 1st Floor HSRC Library, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.
Contact Arlene Grossberg  | T: (012) 302 2811  | E:
Cape Town: HSRC Video Conference Room, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.
Contact Shouneez Khan| T: (021) 466 7948 | E:
Durban: HSRC Video Conference Room, The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001.
Contact Ridhwaan Khan  | T: (031) 242 5400  | C: 083 788 2786  | E:  or Wiseman Mbambo |  E:

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST

Vidyo Link: