Raising their Voices: A Critical Examination of the South African Women’s Anti-Pass Movement, 1956-1958
Frances Beatrice Henderson
Thesis DT 3.5 1996 496
x, 122 leaves; 28 cm.
Influx control and the issuing of passes were the cornerstones of the South African apartheid which had an impact on every sphere of society from the economy to politics. The pass laws had severe economic, political and social implications for African women who worked in the home as well as outside of the home. The first aim of this study is to examine the implications for women; what effect did these laws have on women's mobility and their ability to seek work? How did their mobility and access to work effect family relations and women's rights to be with their families or bring their families with them? How did these pass laws affect women's ability to make a living outside of the home as well as to maintain a certain degree of independence within the household? Was the distribution of passes to women another attempt by the South African government at reinforcing patriarchy on a racial foundation norms and values that kept women (African, Coloured and Indian) in a perpetual state of minority status? By addressing these questions, this thesis hopes to establish the way in which passes affected the everyday lives of women of color in South Africa, thereby contextualizing the anti-pass law movement.
Recently, however, a number of scholars (most notably Cherryl Walker and Julia Wells), as well as some participants of the South African women's resistance movements, have researched and written on this topic. What has become apparent to me over the course of my research is that some of this scholarship has been deeply couched in Western feminist theory, often using Western feminism as a frame of reference. This thesis seeks to explore the anti-pass movement using a Black feminist framework. In doing this, this project seek to offer an alternative to existing Western feminists analysis. This thesis also seeks to examine feminism as a theoretical framework for Third World women's activism and activist history.