Ayanda BoyBoy Manqoyi
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Davis, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10325
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleManqoyi, Ayanda (California, Davis, U. of) "Black Family Businesses and Racial Capitalism in an Out-Of-The-Way South African Town"
This project examines the value regimes and historicities of racialized capitalism in the small town of Lusikisiki in South Africa. At two moments in recent history, the South African state has directly intervened to encourage the formation of black family businesses: first, in the 1960s when the apartheid state set up the Xhosa Development Corporation to buy out and replace white traders in the town with a new black entrepreneurial elite; then, in the post-apartheid period, when the state adopted a policy of ‘black empowerment,’ largely to reward anti-apartheid members of African National Congress. This project hypothesizes that, in addition to the long acknowledged tensions between mutual belonging, or kinship (colloquially known as ‘black tax’), and individualized capitalist accumulation, the value regimes of these two historical layers of black family businesses differ, particularly in the ways that they interdigitate with kinship obligations. The tensions and overlaps between these elements help produce what we might call vernacular capitalism in Lusikisiki. Over 18 months, I will read court cases, conduct participant observation in six black family firms, and collect oral family and business histories to examine what I am tentatively calling ‘vernacular capitalism’ in Lusikisiki.