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Ageing and Social Policy in South Africa: Historical Perspectives with Particular Reference to the Eastern Cape

Ageing and Social Policy in South Africa: Historical Perspectives with Particular Reference to... This article analyses old-age security policy in South Africa within the wider context of social policy in twentieth-century South Africa. It focuses on old-age pensions as the major part of welfare provision for the elderly. Two main questions are addressed (1) Why did South Africa introduce old-age pensions for aged white elderly in 1928 and why did it broaden the system to include Africans in 1944? (2) What were the main economic and social consequences of this law, especially for Africans in rural communities, with particular reference to the mid-century Eastern Cape? It is argued that South African old-age pension policy was, inter alia , shaped by three factors: (1) capitalist industrialisation mediated by the character of existing public social provision and ‐ with regard to Africans ‐ segregationist policies; (2) cultural and ideological shifts; (3) class politics. As a consequence of state initiative, from an early stage, pension money became decisive for the economic survival of many African rural households and contributed indirectly to the increased self-respect and social status of African old-age pensioners. The linking of old-age pensions to chronological age did not lead to the emergence of old age as a chronologically-defined stage of life because pre industrial life-course models organised around the notion of 'building the umzi (homestead)' were still very much alive. Finally, it is argued that from its inception, the South African state welfare policy had some ageist aspects to it. The article concludes that the political economy approach to ageing cannot fully account for the complexities of the ageing experience in South Africa. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Southern African Studies Taylor & Francis

Ageing and Social Policy in South Africa: Historical Perspectives with Particular Reference to the Eastern Cape

Journal of Southern African Studies , Volume 26 (3): 31 – Sep 1, 2000
31 pages

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References (64)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1465-3893
eISSN
0305-7070
DOI
10.1080/713683587
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article analyses old-age security policy in South Africa within the wider context of social policy in twentieth-century South Africa. It focuses on old-age pensions as the major part of welfare provision for the elderly. Two main questions are addressed (1) Why did South Africa introduce old-age pensions for aged white elderly in 1928 and why did it broaden the system to include Africans in 1944? (2) What were the main economic and social consequences of this law, especially for Africans in rural communities, with particular reference to the mid-century Eastern Cape? It is argued that South African old-age pension policy was, inter alia , shaped by three factors: (1) capitalist industrialisation mediated by the character of existing public social provision and ‐ with regard to Africans ‐ segregationist policies; (2) cultural and ideological shifts; (3) class politics. As a consequence of state initiative, from an early stage, pension money became decisive for the economic survival of many African rural households and contributed indirectly to the increased self-respect and social status of African old-age pensioners. The linking of old-age pensions to chronological age did not lead to the emergence of old age as a chronologically-defined stage of life because pre industrial life-course models organised around the notion of 'building the umzi (homestead)' were still very much alive. Finally, it is argued that from its inception, the South African state welfare policy had some ageist aspects to it. The article concludes that the political economy approach to ageing cannot fully account for the complexities of the ageing experience in South Africa.

Journal

Journal of Southern African StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 1, 2000

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