expert presentation: Stakeholders meeting with DTI, NCR, DSD, & SASSA zoom / 17 november 2020
I am very excited to present our report recommendations to the Department of Trade and Industry, National Credit Regulator, Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency. We will discuss how to more effectively align the National Credit Act and the Social Assistance Act.
News Article: Legal but Reckless: Lending to Social Grantees GroundUp / 29 october 2020
Check out our new GroundUp pieceon the 75% interest rates legally allowed to be charged on loans taken by social grant recipients.
Fellowship award: hunt postdoctoral fellowship from wenner gren 2 october 2020
I am so excited to announce I have been awarded the Hunt Postdoctoral fellowship for 2021! This fellowship supports the writing up of already completed research and will help me finish the book manuscript of Bantustan Banking! Check out the great work of other Hunt fellows too!
IN the news: loan sharks feasting on the poorest by charging interest of 50-112% cape argus / 20 September 2020
Click hereto see a great profile in the Cape Argus by Mwangi Githathu about my research with Deborah and David on debt and social grantees. Thanks Mwangi!!
IN the news: Report shows how lenders prey on grant recipients ground up / 6 September 2020
Click hereto see a fabulous profile in GroundUp by James Stent about my research with Deborah and David on debt and social grantees. Thanks James!
Report Launch: Social Grants as Collateral 10 September 2020
I am pleased to launch this report, co-authored with Deborah James and David Neves, mapping the landscape of social grant-based debt in nine cities. Click here to download the report.
Appointment: Andrew W Mellon, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of the western Cape July 2020
I am very pleased to accept a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Geography at the University of the Western Cape.
In The News: The HUMAn cost of south AFrica's lending explosion groundup / 13 February 2020
Check out my research on debt and unsecured lending in Malcolm Rees' excellent article for GroundUp.
Publication: World Development February 2020
My article "Collateral Damages: Cash Transfer and Debt Transfer in South Africa was just accepted by World Development! Thanks to Arun Agrawal and the anonymous reviewers for their generous support.
Workshop: reckless lending 23-24, 27-28 August 2019, South Africa
We just finished up a fantastic four-day workshop with the London School of Economics, the University of the Western Cape, and the Black Sash on ongoing indebtedness and social grants. Stay tuned for our report on lending practices in nine cities!
In The Field: reckless lending research June - August 2019, South Africa
Funded by the London School of Economics, I conducted research into ongoing reckless lending to social grant recipients. Even under the new Post Office distribution regime, predatory lending continues.
In the news: Woodrow Wilson Foundaton 8 January 2019
"I never thought my research would begin with receipts -- the small, mundane slips of paper that list the things we've purchased, routinely printed by shop clerks, operating cash registers, and carelessly crumpled in pockets or tossed in trashcans. But, when I started talking to people about the South African social grant program..." Read More Here
Fellowship Award: Charlotte Newcombe september 2018 - august 2019
Great News! I am thrilled to announce that I have been awarded the 2018 Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. The fellowship is designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. This award will support the completion of my dissertation. Read More Here
Conference Presentation: Africa in the World May 25-29, 2018 Johannesburg
I am very pleased to present "Life on an Installment Plan: Social Grants and Debt in South Africa" as part of a panel on Transformative Technologies. Please join me on May 26 at 4:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Rosebank. Read More Here
Research for the ConCourt: Panel of experts report February 2018 johannesburg
My research with the Black Sash is now part of a report that has been submitted by the Panel of Experts to the Constitutional Court. This Panel was appointed by the ConCourt to develop a new national social grant payment system. Read the Panel's fullReport Here
Guest Lecture: Geography 10 November 14, 2017 UC Berkeley
I just finished lecturing on debt and racial capitalism for our Introduction to Geography course. A big thank you to Jake Kosek who asked me to fill his very large shoes while he was away!
Invited Presentation: PLAAS Seminar Series June 16, 2017 University of the western Cape
“'It’s like the lotto,' said a Khayelitsha pensioner, 'sometimes I get little money and sometimes I get no money at all.' This conceptualization of the South African social grant system as a gamble — and not a reliable state entitlement — would be heretical in contemporary development literature, which touts cash transfers as the “solution” to global poverty..." Read MoreHere
COnference presentation: Intergenerational relations & social grants April 10, 2017 University of Cape Town
Come hear me present a short paper on "Social Grants and the World Bank" at this workshop with UCT's Sociology Department, organized by Elena Moore. I am looking forward to sharing my work with other scholars researching inequality and intergenerational politics!
Radio interview: the daily maverick podcast CLIFF CENTRAL / March 2017
I am very excited to be interviewed by Kingsley Kipury on the Daily Maverick Podcast! Nomonde Nyembe from the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Wits and Koketso Moeti from Amandla.mobi are in the CliffCentral studio to offer their excellent analyses of SASSA and the Constitutional Court cases.
Newspaper Article: What we learn from "Concerning Violence" about Franz Fanon's Writings Africa is a country / 8 April 2015
Here is my first Africa is a Countrypiece for their series Movie Night. It was a lot of fun collaborating with Michael Watts, Camilla Hawthorne and Brittany Meche on a film review of Göran Olsson's "Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense."
In the News: Lending to social grant recipients exploitative uwc / 2 November 2020
This is a fantastic article in the UWC News by Myolisi Gophe profiling the report I wrote with the Black Sash, Deborah James, and David Neves. #IamUWC
In the News: The Vicous Cycle of the Debt Trap Fallen into by Social Grant recipients Daily maverick / 22 October 2020
This is a fantastic article in the Daily Maverick by Ufrieda Ho profiling my research with the Black Sash, Deborah James, and David Neves.
Interview: The Buring Issue voice of the cape / 29 September 2020
I had the pleasure of spending two hours in studio with Yazeed Kamaldien of the Burning Issue on Voice of the Cape. We not only discussed the Black Sash report on social grants and reckless lending, but possibilities for decommodified loan products based on Islamic banking.
WEBINAR: Challenging reckless Lending in South Africa 10 September 2020
Click here to see our fantastic webinar with Deborah James, David Neves, Lynette Mart, and the National Credit Regulator. Thanks to all the panelists and participants for a really wonderful discussion!
IN The FIELD: COVID-19 Grant research 1 September 2020
My very first attempt at (telephonic) field research in an era of Covid! I will be working with colleagues in the Eastern Cape and KZN to learn about the difficulties and benefits of the temporary Covid-19 grant. We are advocating this grant be extended and expanded into a basic income for all 18-59 year old South Africans.
Graduation: Phd in geography, university of california, berkeley 18 may 2020
PhinisheD! I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a PhD in Geography in May 2020. The ceremony has been postponed due to Covid-19.
EXPERT MEETING: National Credit regulator 6 March 2020, Pretoria, South Africa
Along with Lynette Mart and Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker, I presented research on predatory lenders and the social grant system to the National Credit Regulator.
In the News: Best social protection papers 19 December 2019, world bank blogs
Check out Ugo Gentilini's list of Social Protection Papers of the year! "Collateral Damages" is on it, along with other very fine work.
presentation: Southern african labor & development research institute 20 November 2019, UCT, Cape town
Wednesday at lunch time, I will be presenting my World Development article, "Collateral Damages: Cash Transfers and Debt Transfers in South Africa." Thanks to SALDRU for the invitation!
Conference presentation: Rethinking Economics for Africa 6 September 2019, Wits University, Joburg
Please join me at 11:45 pm this Friday for the panel Household Debt and Dispossession. We are Session 3 under the theme of Economics and Human Rights. Room assignment TBD.
Conference presentation: Association of American Geographers 5 april 2019, washington, DC
Stephen McIssac, Meredith Palmer and I organized two panels called: Health as "Fix": Geographies of the Biopolitical in Settler- and Post-Colonies. Please join us and our fantastic presenters on Friday afternoon! I will be giving a paper in the second session.
IN The FIELD: RECKLESS LENDING research july-AUGUST 2018 Port elizabeth & DeLFT
In July and August, I spent time with the Black Sash offices in PE and Cape Town. With the Black Sash team, we tracked down loan companies offering financial products to grant holders. We mapped their locations in relation to SASSA offices, grant distribution points and other social services. We wrote up case studies about how grants are being used as collateral for loans.
Expert Presentation: Panel of Experts, Constitutional Court March 16, 2018 Pretoria
Very excited to attend to this Meeting of the Panel of Experts with Lynette Maart and the Black Sash! We'll be discussing the creation of a recourse system for social grant beneficiaries, who experience abuses on their bank accounts.
Documentary: The Green Card March 13, 2018 South Africa
I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the documentary crew that created this short film for Cutting Edge. Tune in to SABC 1 on March 27th @ 9:30 to see our work with EasyPay card holders in Ceres. Sarina and Jacobus will tell us how indebtedness has become part and parcel of the South African social grant system.
IN The FIELD: EasyPay research for the Black Sash June-july 2017 Port elizabeth and limehill
In June and July, I spent time with the Black Sash offices in PE and KZN. With Alexa, Evashnee, Jerome, Nelly, and a group of grant holders, we tracked down Net1 offices to test whether or not it was possible to cancel EasyPay cards. We wrote up a dozen case studies about the difficulties of navigating this techno-financial system.
Newspaper Article: social grants: Has belamant answered his critics? GROUND UP / May 9, 2017
"Net1 CEO Serge Belamant has hit back at critics of the company’s management of its contract with the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA), accusing them of conspiracy theories and political agendas. He has referred investors in his company to a 37-page auditors’ report which according to Net1, “sets the record straight”. But does it?" Read MoreHere
Newspaper Article: The World Bank's Role in South Africa's Social Grant SysteM GROUND UP / March 23, 2017
"As the main South African investor in Cash Paymaster Services, Allan Gray has been under the spotlight over the social grants controversy. As a result, a bigger investor, the World Bank, has not received much attention..." Read MoreHere
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: Sophia's choice: Farmworker has to decide which child to feed Ground Up / March 16, 2017
"When loan repayments left Sophia destitute, she had to beg a little money from her cousin and make a terrible choice. Either she could feed herself ant her six-month-old baby, or she could feed her 8 and 13-year-old daughters..." Read MoreHere
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: deductions from social grants: how it all works Ground up / MArch 3, 2017,
Fellowship Award: Wenner-Gren september 2015 - august 2016
I am excited to announce that I am a 2015 Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grantee. The fellowship is designed to support research that makes a solid contribution to the discipline of anthropology. This award will support my fieldwork in South Africa this year. Read MoreHere