Hanging on a wire: A historical and socio-eco- nomic study of Paulshoek village in the communal area of Leliefontein, Namaqualand
Hoffman, M. Timm
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Namaqualand is often considered an anomaly in South African social science research because of its distinct cultural, social and environmental conditions. No doubt, Namaqualand has many extremes: a sparse population, a harsh arid environment and a political history dominated by the perverse apartheid system which classified the majority of Namaqualanders as ‘coloured’ and confined them to small communal ‘reserves’. Few contemporary studies have penetrated the complex history of land use, settlement and social economy of these communal areas of the Northern Cape. This report presents a case study centred on the village of Paulshoek in one such communal area (Leliefontein) in Namaqualand. It documents the history of the village and presents findings of socioeconomic research covering village demographics, health indicators, a household livelihoods analysis and the function of social networks inside the village and beyond its boundaries.