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    Karl Marx, author of the communist manifesto writes “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the fami… Read More
    Karl Marx, author of the communist manifesto writes “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation”. Class as a system is often overshadowed by Issues like race and gender. As a child who was raised by a working class family the dishonour of coming from a humble home was etched into my way of life. As people we often don’t realize how class has influenced what we undertake as our culture. Elitism in black communities influences how we treat each other, how we assume hierarchy and ultimately creates dominance amongst people who see themselves as equal. This essay seeks to question ideas of class in South African townships using objects of township culture which are the four room house and the classic seven colours Sunday dish. The family house as it is known in the township is an approximately 40sq/m house also known as a matchbox. Matchbox houses were established in the 1950s by the apartheid government. These houses were meant to accommodate black migrants who came to find work in the city although they were designed for the standard western nuclear family. These houses have become homes for many families over the years, sometimes even accommodating more than one family in a single house. With the rise of the black middle class in the township these houses have also become a symbol of shame for many working class families. Dwellers of old four room houses are often tormented because “basa geza nge ndishi” while other people have bathrooms in the new South Africa. Though petty and dull, these statements carry a greater weight attached to class segregation which is measured by material possession. The four room has become a an influential part of the township landscape and it is a part of many people’s identity and history thus using it as a tool for elitism would be a dent to our culture The seven colours Sunday dish has become a symbol of prosperity and relief.in many township homes. It is also a time for families to come together and bond over a wholesome home cooked meal. The Sunday dish is like a reassuring indication to a family that things are still okay, a Sunday without a proper seven colour plate in many homes is considered to be dreadful. It is as though we say “we eat well on Sunday therefore we are not poor”. We use food as a symbol of affluence to show that we are well-off, even though we might not be; we splurge on food at funerals, weddings and even at Sunday lunch to obscure the fact that we are not as wealthy as we think we are, and therefore our status is threatened. This essay will be broken into three parts; the people, the space and the food. These three will be used as tools to demonstrate daily acts of classism in a typical township on a Sunday. The People On Sundays people dress up smartly to go to church to look good for God. However clothing has become an invisible symbol of class and status in South African townships. This idea will be questioned by observing how people act and how and how it is influenced by their clothes The space The four room house will be used to demonstrate how spaces influence our ideas of class and prosperity. Household tools that symbolise wealth will be used to illustrate our inherent elitism The food Read Less
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