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2 The (Post)Colonial Economy And Social Relations

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Chapter Summary

In order to locate financial mutuals within society, one must consider the impact that capitalism, the apartheid state, and the post-apartheid state have had on the Xhosa economy and the constitution of social relationships. Among the Xhosa in South Africa, three types of relations were most clearly affected by economic change, namely kin, abakhaya, and neighbours. This chapter briefly highlights the incorporation of the Xhosa people into the colonial and apartheid political economy. It then explains the impact on relations among kin, neighbours, and abakhaya . The structural changes in the three types of relations (kinship, abakhaya, and neighbour) were accompanied by new structural tensions between people who depended on each other. Financial mutuals played an important role in the making and breaking of these tensions because they influenced the allocation of money within the wider kinship network and because they helped to establish personal bonds between neighbours.

Keywords: abakhaya; apartheid political economy; colonial economy; financial mutuals; kinship; neighbours; social relationship; South Africa; Xhosa economy



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