Children of a Bitter Harvest: Child Labour in the Cape Winelands

Levine, Susan


The stories in Children of a Bitter Harvest document moments in the lives of children who worked in the heart of South Africa’s wine industry between 1996 and 2010, as framed by the uprisings on farms at the start of 2013. The book is made up of more than 100 interconnected flashes, or fragments of stories, taken from the lives of farm workers, farmers, child workers, human rights lawyers, and ordinary people affected by the agricultural industry in the Western Cape. The children in the book are no longer children; they are young adults in a new South Africa that offers them certain freedoms to overcome the shackles of race and class domination. However, without the kind of radical economic and social restructuring that would make this possible, all of the children represented in the book remain extremely poor adults. The author documents how, for these children, their child labor of the 1990s inevitably gave way to adult labor and powerfully demonstrates that the breath between childhood and adulthood is as tender as it is tenuous. South Africa is a nation that has managed to end the brutality of apartheid, but is also a nation that has yet to replace brutality itself. Buy it on Amazon.