The Women of Phokeng: Consciousness, Life Strategy, and Migrancy in South Africa, 1900-1983

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This evocative book tells of the lives and experiences of 22 black South African women - all born in the 1900s - from one small town in the Western Transvaal. The women seem both ordinary and remarkable as we follow their lives through childhood and schooling, work in the city, marriage and family life, participation in urban resistance, and ultimate return to Phokeng by the 1980s.

This book's originality and power lies in the central place it gives to the oral histories on which it is based. This richly textured study gives us a uniquely qualitative insight into the lives and world views of black South African women.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book brings a new dimension to women's studies . . . . This is oral history at its best.”–History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435080563
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 11/18/1991
  • Series: Social History of Africa Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Belinda Bozzoli is Professor of Sociology at the University of Witwatersrand. She is the author of The Political Nature of a Ruling Class: Capital and Ideology in South Africa, 1890-1933 (London, 1981). she has also edited three History Workshop collections and is coeditor of "History from South Africa" for Radical History Review.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Oral History, Consciousness, and Gender

Prelude: Lives in Portrait

The Bafokeng: Myths and Realities of the Past

Peasant Daughters, 1900-1915

Church, School, and Tribe, 1910-1925

Leaving Home, 1920-1935

Courtship and Marriage, 1925-1940

Respectable Matrons, 1930-1945

Subjectivity and Identity: Tales of Violence and Persecution

Resentment and Defiance, 1945-1960

Leaving the City, 1960-1980

Grandmothers and Pensioners, 1980-1983

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