Trapped in Debt: Gendered Life and Western Cape Farms
Keywords:Women Farm workers, historical indebtedness, the right to food, indebtedness
This article draws on interviews with women farm workers and trade union organisers as well as my observations as an activist working with farm workers in post-apartheid South Africa. It highlights women farm workers’ entrapment in past and present cycles of disempowerment, drawing attention to the paradox that the producers of food are often those who have least access to the most basic human rights, including the right to food. Poor working conditions and low wages create indebtedness and a dependence on farm owners and therefore perpetuate powerlessness. The article highlights the complexities of how these farm workers navigate worlds of food production and food purchasing.
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