Sisipho Nqadala

Fellow: Anthropology Department, MA

I am currently doing my Masters in Anthropology and also tutor in the department.

In a post-colonial condition where Black women are marginalized by multiple oppressions of race, gender and class. How do the biographies of Black women street traders that are township based, help us in understanding how they negotiate and defend their right to public space, identity and power?

My research untangles the conflicts and realities of how Black women configure their lives under extreme forms of racial and gendered oppression. It brings forth the nuances of the dispossession of Black people and the construction of the township. The migrant labour system and the apartheid policies that controlled and prohibited Black businesses before 1994. It analyses Cape Town—a city that has been reported to be one of the most beautiful but equally one that reminds us of unequal racial and spatial planning. It seeks to ask questions of; what has changed, if any, and what promise of urban development has been broken?

In these harsh realities, Black women street traders have reminded us of socio-economic systematic issues that continue to evoke the so-called “democratic” dispensation. Which appears thoroughly on a piece of paper, but practically— is not a lived experience by the everyday populace.