Ndlovu, Patricia Pinky
African Sociology, Decolonization, Social Theory, Violence and Gender in Africa, Industrial Sociology
A Sociological Understanding of the Minibus-Taxi Industry in South Africa: Informality, Patriarchy and Violence
My projects looks at the three overlapping/intersecting issues in the minibus taxi industry in South Africa which include conflict, violence and gender. The two central issues for this thesis are gender and violence. This is so because the minibus taxi industry is one of those sites of patriarchy. Women are struggling to operate within this industry that is characterised by violence and patriarchy. Unlike existing studies, conflict and violence in this proposed study are not reduced to ‘taxi wars’. What is being investigated is the ‘everyday violence’ in its multidimensional form – ‘structural, systemic, symbolic, verbal, cultural, organisational and normative violence’. The hypothesis of this study is that patriarchy, if looked at from a gender perspective, is an inherently violent structure of power, and its manifestations might be one of the key reasons why women are struggling to enter and operate successfully in this male-dominated industry. Conceptually and theoretically, the proposed thesis will draw from the decolonial school of thought which enables diagnosis of systemic and institutional violence, including patriarchy. The proposed thesis will also pay attention to what Cedric J. Robinson (1983) termed racial capitalism and its patriarchal labour regimes. This is important because it forms part of the overarching systematic and structural terrain within which the minibus taxi industry emerges. Therefore, the overarching objective of the study is to investigate everyday violence in the minibus taxi industry, with a focus on how violence affects and shapes the gender dynamics. Subsequently, the main research question of the proposed study is: what forms of conflicts and violence haunt the minibus taxi industry and how do these forms of violence affect women who own and drive taxis in South Africa?