Patriarchy and Poverty and the Effect it has had on Land Ownership and Housing of the Women: A Case Study in Badirile South Africa
Housing is a fundamental human right and a home provides independence, stability and dignity. If women do not own land or homes, it renders them powerless. The majority of South African rural women are historically poor, illiterate or semi-illiterate, and have had no land ownership rights. Unable to make a living in the traditional male-dominated and underdeveloped rural areas, they migrate to white-owned farms, towns or the cities. This article is based on an extensive study of the women of Badirile, a semi-urban “black township” near Randfontein, east of the Johannesburg metropolitan area. I explored the plight of women living here over a period of three years, through qualitative analysis and as a participant observer. I analysed the many problems faced by these women who “escaped” from rural areas in search of better living conditions, only to remain marginalised, homeless and trapped in poverty. Lacking knowledge about their legal rights, they are denied access to land, secure housing and adequate homes. The research showed that this homelessness and all its subsequent consequences cannot be divorced from both historical and current issues.