In the early 1650s, a young Khoi girl named Krotoa was taken into servitude by Jan van Riebeeck. Krotoa was the forerunner to millions of black women who have worked in white households and on white farms in the centuries since, separated from their own children and supporting, as breadwinners, hundreds of thousands of households across Southern Africa.

We often forget that the intertwined institutions of farm work and domestic work have their origins in the enslavement of indigenous people. During our country’s colonisation, and subsequently during apartheid’s cheap-wage labour regime, black women toiled under abusive conditions in white households and on white farms...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.