By Meredeth Turshen (eds.)
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Extra resources for African Women: A Political Ecomony
However, the determined direction toward a consolidation of black ruling class control over the state and deep struggles over land and mineral wealth in that country will be inevitable. Jacob Zuma, an unabashed proto-nationalist, an accused rapist who was freed by a racist white judge and whose blatant feudalism publicly performed in traditional attire and in the public reinscription of black sexualized masculinity as culturally sanctioned hypersexual impunity, has positioned himself at the forefront of this moment of postcolonial transition within the South African political context.
The domestic worker works in exchange for a wage from the employer, is subject to control and supervision, and may be fired as well as hired. The housewife is not so governed. The social relations under which the domestic labor is performed are different and accord to the housewife and the domestic worker a different status. The domestic worker can be conceptualized as an unproductive worker, as a worker who performs labor that is not exchanged with capital, but directly with revenue, that is wages or profits.
Therefore, by prefacing this brief analysis of women’s politics in Southern Africa within a broader historical framework that interfaces women’s political realities with exceptionalism as an ideological and practical element that continues to shape South African social reality, I am endeavoring to resituate women’s political discourses and their lived realities in relation to what I consider to be a crucial ideological and identity marker within present day South African society. The hope is that the notion will better elucidate the impacts of neoliberalism on the lives of black women in working communities in particular.