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7 Conclusion

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Chapter Summary

A study of financial mutuals among Xhosa migrants captures pivotal changes in post-apartheid South Africa. In-between jobs and during vacations, migrants returned home with money and beautiful stories of Cape Town’s wealth and riches. Even if people knew better than to believe such stories, poverty caused ever more people – women in particular – to earn some money in Cape Town to survive and to support kin. The phenomenon of consumption was vulnerable to social conflict, jealousy and rivalry. Through consumption, made possible by financial mutuals, people could strive for a better lifestyle, self-worth and respect. Research among uprooted African migrants who lived in violent and insecure circumstances had its obvious methodological constraints. It is important to reflect on these methodological constraints because they are so much part of the insights that emerged during the course of the research.

Keywords: Cape Town; consumption; financial mutuals; post-apartheid South Africa; poverty; Xhosa migrants



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