Hepburn Sacha
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Regulation, protection, and exclusion
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This chapter examines official efforts to regulate and formalise domestic service practices in Zambia, tracing change over time and comparing this case with other southern African nations. Taking colonial labour policies as a starting point, the chapter shows that domestic service practices across the region were regulated and monitored as part of broader efforts to discipline workers, police racial boundaries, and maintain social order. After independence, the Zambian state took a more detached approach towards domestic service than its colonial predecessor and the sector declined as a topic for official concern and intervention. It was only in 2011 that the Zambian state introduced protective legislation for domestic workers. Zambia’s approach contrasted with several other southern African nations where legal protections for domestic workers were introduced following independence and the transition to democracy. The chapter explores the local, regional, and global contexts within which Zambia shifted from a position of disinterest to one of protection, and considers the influence of developments in neighbouring states and at the International Labour Organization. It demonstrates the mixed impacts of protective legislation on domestic workers in Zambia and elsewhere in the region. While labour protections brought about important gains for many domestic workers in relation to wages and working conditions, these laws were often inadequately monitored and enforced. Labour protections also failed to address the particularities and diversity of domestic service, excluding child domestic workers from protection and exacerbating gender and age inequalities within the sector.

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Home economics

Domestic service and gender in urban southern Africa

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