oa Alternation - Asinamali! Then and Now

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Travelling along Maydon Wharf just after 5am recently, I was flagged down by a casual docker desperate to make the call and bhala (sign on) for the day. His anxiety not to be late and fear of not getting work for the day is conclusive evidence of the distance travelled by togt (day) workers in time and space between 1843 and the present. In time past African workers asserted their right to daily contracts free from the coercive contracts of the time-now there is a formidable battle to be able to win permanency and some security in the 1990s deregulated world of work. The strike against casual labour conditions on 2 February 1995, which involved the mobilising of some 1 000 workers throughout the port, unlike the practice of the nineteenth century, was not mentioned in any of the newspapers, black or white.

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