Raw life, new hope: decency, housing and everyday life in a post-apartheid community

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UCT Press


University of Cape Town

The book has been designed to demonstrate social science concepts in action. Its narrative is lively and engaging, and materials can be adapted for any level of study. Raw Life, New Hope is the stoy of one community's efforts to secure a decent life in post-apartheid South Africa. For residents of The Park, a squalid shantytown on the outskirts of Cape Town, life was hard and they described their social world as raw. Efforts to get on with the messy business of everyday life were often underut by cruel poverty. Despite inhospitable conditions, they sought to create respectable lives. The opportunity of formal housing fired them with enthusiasm as they saw the possibilities of living respectably with stable families, decent work, enduring social relations and the trappings of consumerism. The book traces their experiences as people struggled with sense-making in a complex world. Based on nearly two decades of research, Raw Life, New Hope examines how everyday lives are fashioned through relationships, reciprocity and language. It offers a rare glimpse into the complex and contradictory ways of life of people living on the margins of society.

Funded by NRF, UCT.