Hepburn Sacha
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This chapter draws together the book’s arguments, summarising findings from the Lusakan case and outlining what these reveal about the nature of gender, work, and urban economies across southern Africa’s post-colonial cities. It argues that the Lusakan case demonstrates the centrality of domestic service to livelihood and housekeeping strategies across the region’s urban centres; highlights the importance of women and girl workers and kin-based labour to household and broader economies; and shows how traditional forms of regulating and organising labour do not match the complex realities of (domestic) labour relations in the region. The final part of the conclusion suggests new avenues for historical and interdisciplinary scholarship. The economic, social, and cultural importance of domestic service in Lusaka and across the region’s urban centres shows no signs of abating, given the continued precarity of employment and the failure of regional governments to extend public services, bolster employment opportunities, and combat gender inequality. It thus seems likely that waged and kin-based domestic service will continue to play a key role in individual and household survival strategies in future years. The chapter argues that future research and policymaking on work, gender, children, and development in the region must reckon with these realities, and should pay particular attention to the interplay of kin-based and wage labour; the role of child workers in the region’s economies and the gender dynamics of children’s employment; and the potential of informal strategies of worker organising.

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Domestic service and gender in urban southern Africa


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