Ekhaya: the politics of home in kzn


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This book examines the African home as a key site of struggle in the making of modern KwaZulu-Natal, a South African province that instantiates in extreme form many of the transformations that shaped the colonial world. The book’s essays explore major themes in African and global history, including the colonial manipulation of kinship and the exploitation of labour, modernist practices of social engineering, and the changes wrought within intimate relationships by post-industrial decline. Ranging from the rural to the urban and the pre-colonial era to the presidency of Jacob Zuma, the book emphasizes the affective and ideological dimensions of ekhaya (home). With the President’s homestead upgrade expenses under scrutiny after Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela released her report, it is clear that the politics of ‘home’ plays an important role in South Africa’s current affairs. However, this is not a new phenomenon. The book offers insight into how the home, which embodies both modernist aspirations and nostalgic longings for the past, has become the touchstone for popular discontent and political activism in recent decades. Just as colonialism in South Africa was a colonialism of the home, politics in South Africa are a politics of the home.