South Africa's social landscape is disfigured by poverty, inequality and mass unemployment. This book argues that it is impossible to think coherently or constructively about poverty, and the challenge it poses, without a clear understanding of its formation, of how poverty in the past has shaped poverty in the present.
Colin Bundy traces the lasting scars left on the face of South African poverty by colonial dispossession, coerced labour and segregation; and by a capitalist system distinctive for its reliance on cheap, rightless black labour. He shows that the 'solution' to the 'Poor White question' had profound and lasting implications for black poverty, and describes the impact of apartheid policies on both urban and rural poverty. This pocket history assesses the policies and thinking of the ANC government in its responses to poverty; it concludes by reviewing available policy options- and their shortcomings.