WISH Seminar | Zoom Experiment | Laura Phillips "Building the Bantustans"

 Registration is closed for this event

WISER invites you to join us for an experimental Zoom version of the WISH seminar.

Presented by Laura Phillips

The Making of the Lebowa Civil Service: Class Formation and Bantustan Administration


An on-line seminar Monday, April 6, 4:00pm to 5:00pm South African Time.

This on-line discussion will be an hour long and based on the prior reading of the paper.  We expect to learn a lot from this event, not least about the technologies and their limits.  The paper and details of the Zoom webinar will be distributed to those who register for the event.

Abstract : As the apartheid state’s Bantustan policy developed, ten ethnically defined pseudo-states were established across rural South Africa. In keeping with the policy to present these ‘states’ as legitimate expressions of African self-governance, control was decentralised from Pretoria to the ten new rural capitals and local administrations began to grow. As local departments of education, health and public works were established, a civil service urgently was needed to replace the white administrators who had previously governed the territory. Using the Northern Sotho Bantustan, Lebowa, as a case study, this paper examines how Bantustan state employment shaped and stratified society. Though not all state jobs were created equal, those who could secure a regular salary, pension benefits and, importantly, a housing subsidy were in a far better position than most of the Lebowa population who lived in dire poverty or relied on – increasingly diminishing - migrant remittances. In an otherwise depressed economy, government employment made a radical difference to households in Lebowa, accelerating a process of stratification with important implications for the regional political economy. 


April 6th, 2020 from  4:00 PM to  5:00 PM