The informal sector of the apartheid city: the pavement people of Johannesburg

K. S.O. Beavon, Christian M. Rogerson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines aspects of life in one component of the informal sector of the apartheid city. It must be acknowledged, however, that the informal sector as an analytical concept has serious shortcomings. In common with many Third World countries, there exist in both urban and rural areas of South Africa a significant proportion of the workforce engaged in economic activities that are insecure, do not provide full employment and which, almost invariably, generate low incomes. In the context of the state’s attempts to foster a politically stabilizing Black petite bourgeoisie in the townships that fringe the cities of ‘white’ South Africa, the current national development plan speaks cautiously of encouraging the informal sector. In view of such interpretations, it is necessary to account for the seeming paradox of the small-scale development of street trading in the apartheid city and of the associated tradition of suppressing rather than supporting this activity by Johannesburg municipal authorities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving under Apartheid
Subtitle of host publicationAspects of Urbanization and Social Change in South Africa
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781000928112
ISBN (Print)9781032551753
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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