Article from ROAPE Volume 8 Number 21
Disposable Nannies: Domestic Servants in Political Econ of SA

Disposable Nannies: Domestic Servants in the Political Economy of South Africa
Vol.8 No.21 (Summer 1981), pp63-83
Roughly 89 per cent of domestic servants in SA are black and of these about 88 per cent are women. Domestic service accounts for the employment of 38 per cent of black women whose conditions of work are the least protected within one of the most regimented labour forces in the world. The institution of black domestic labour socialises whites into the dominant ideological order of race and exposes servants to its most humiliating practices. Black servants are coerced into dependency upon their employers but white women are also dependants within the patriarchal structures of capital. In this article the author explores the ideas generated by the domestic labour debate to understand the role of domestic labour in SA in the reproduction of labour power and examines some of the contradictory trends in the conditions of reproduction within the capitalist economy.