The Labour Studies Seminar Series, in partnership with James Currey Publishers will launch Markets on the Margins: Mineworkers, job creation & enterprise development by Kate Philip.
Speaker: Kate Philip
Date: Wednesday, 15th May 2019
Venue: Eden Grove Seminar Room 2
The series is run by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) and the Departments of Sociology and Industrial Sociology, History, and Economics & Economic History.
THE BOOK: The mining industry has been at the core of capitalist South Africa. It has also been a site of cheap, oppressed labour. How do we get off the road of cheap labour, centralised capitalism and endemic rural poverty upon which we have been placed? Do co-operatives show a different way, enabling justice and equality for the workers and the poor? This book examines these issues, looking at one of the most ambitious, systematic and sustained efforts at creating worker-run cooperatives in southern Africa. In 1987, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was set on a collision course with the mighty Chamber of Mines. The first mass black union on the mines since the 1940s, it launched a massive showdown with a historic national strike. As employers cracked down, 40,000 mineworkers from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland lost their jobs and were set back to the villages.
To help these men, and build the union, NUM set up a score of worker co-operatives in three countries. Over time, NUM broadened the aim into rural development and job creation. Against the backdrop of South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy, this programme provided critical support to poor communities hard hit by escalating job losses on the mines. It developed an ambitious Mineworkers Development Agency. This book, by an insider –Kate Philip, anti-apartheid student and United Democratic Front (UDF) activist, who ran NUM's cooperatives and development programme – charts the development of the NUM experiment in people-driven development and rural transformation. It examines the successes but also the failures, drawing the often-difficult lessons learned from grappling with the limits and opportunities that exist to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. She explores whether and if so, how, markets might be made to work better for the poor.
SPEAKER: Kate Philip was president of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) in 1983-1984, part of United Democratic Front (UDF) which rallied 600 organisations against apartheid, and then joined the editorial collective of the radical South African Student Press Union. From 1988-1994, she ran the NUM’s Co-operatives programme, helping establish 30 producer co-ops in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. When NUM decided to move toward a larger development role by establishing a Mineworkers Development Agency, she served as its CEO. Today she is a development strategist, with extensive experience in development practice and policy development, including advising the post-apartheid government, and is currently supporting the government of Greece in its public employment programme, Kinofelis. She has a PhD in Development Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand. Markets on the Margins: Mineworkers, Job Creation and Enterprise Development, her first book, has been widely acclaimed.
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