Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town
“Asihlali phantsi!" A Study of Agency among isiXhosa-speaking women traders from a Cape Town township

The study aims to examine the ways in which isiXhosa-speaking women traders from Cape Town's Langa Township respond to the structural constraints and opportunities they encounter in the context of poverty alleviation and development. It is well documented that urban poverty is endemic in South African townships. While some women participate in poverty-alleviation projects through small -scale businesses, they do so in a constraining environment which limits their agency. Fewer studies, however, focus specifically on women's agency in relation to self-help and development. By studying how township women traders exercise agency in responding to structural constraints and opportunities that affect their businesses, I seek to understand better how agency contributes to development and poverty alleviation. I adopt a case study methodology and a qualitative research design in my in-depth research project. I will analyse the findings using Miles and Huberman's (1994) approach.