An analytic and historical perspective of literary texts to understand the position of domestic workers in South Africa
More than a million black South African women are domestic workers. Precariously situated between urban and rural areas, rich and poor, white and black, these women are at once intimately connected and at a distant remove from the families they serve. Ena Jansen shows that domestic worker relations in South Africa were shaped by the institution of slavery, establishing social hierarchies and patterns of behavior that persist today. To support her argument, Jansen examines the representation of domestic workers in a diverse range of texts in English and Afrikaans. Authors include André Brink, JM Coetzee, Imraan Coovadia, Nadine Gordimer, Elsa Joubert, Antjie Krog, Sindiwe Magona, Kopano Matlwa, Es'kia Mphahlele, Sisonke Msimang, Zukiswa Wanner and Zoë Wicomb. Like Family is an updated version of the award-winning Soos familie (2015) and the highly-acclaimed 2016 Dutch translation, Bijna familie.
"Like Family deepens our understanding of how the institution both reflects and reproduces the savage inequalities on which our society continues to be based." ~Jacklyn Cock,author of Maids and Madams: A Study in the Politics of Exploitation
"My hope is that Like Family leads to a national dialogue and a reassessment of domestic work. This is an important book for both maids and madams." ~Sindiwe Magona, author of To My Children’s Children