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21 August 2019

HSRC to host a dialogue against exploitation of women in KZN farms

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Wednesday 21 August 2019 – The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in partnership with the Association of Rural Advancement (AFRA) will hold a dialogue focusing on the exploitation of women in KZN farms on Thursday 22 August 2019 at 12h00.

The dialogue titled, the condition of unfreedom: Super-exploitation and subjugation of women on farms in Umgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal, will seek answers to questions such as:

•    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?

The seminar to be presented by AFRA directors, Laurel Oettle and Juba Khuzwayo, will also feature the screening of a documentary, Qina Mbokodo – Be Strong, like a Rock, which gives a 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.”

The media are invited to attend as follows:
Date                :    Thursday 22 August 2019
Time                :    12h30 – 14h00

Venue                :    HSRC Buildings in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact Adziliwi Nematandani (HRSC), 0827659191, email:

Notes to the editor

About Association of Rural Advancement (AFRA) study
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.

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.
Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.
The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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