Fieldwork in the April recess Reply

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During the April recess Prof Derick Blaauw was part of a multidisciplinary research team doing fieldwork in Cape Town as part of a national study of day labouring in South Africa.

The team consisting of Derick and Professor Rinie Schenck of the Department of Social Work at the University of the Western Cape met the 11 fieldworkers on Monday 3 April 2017 at the UWC Campus for a day of fieldworker training. The fieldworkers were all recruited from graduates of the University of the Western Cape’s Social Work Department. The fieldworkers were carefully selected to accommodate all the languages expected to be encountered on the streets of the Mother City. The training was preceded by two weeks of recognizance by Prof Schenck and Ms Iris Brown to confirm existing and identifying possible new hiring sites. The next step was to execute the operation. Two kombis was used as transport and the team met up at the UWC Campus on Tuesday 4 March. What followed was six days of early mornings (getting up at five o’clock) and long hours on the streets interviewing day labourers trying to make a living from informal employment. The fieldwork went well and 450 interviews were conducted. The fieldworkers were debriefed and valuable time was spent reflecting on the shared experiences of the fieldworkers. This type of research does not leave anybody untouched.

Derick and Prof Schenck already started to prepare the data for capturing. The results will be combined with the fieldwork in the rest of the country over the next year. The preliminary viewing of the questionnaires already displays some important changes in the day labour dynamics in Cape Town in the last decade since the previous survey was conducted. Issues pertaining to migration and housing of migrants will be investigated supplemented by appropriate qualitative research endeavors in Cape Town by post graduate students involved in the NRF funded program.

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