From shack dweller to home owner: The power of the MBOP, Africana womanism, and self-help housing among the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia
AbstractAfricana womanism holds that African women hand down generational wisdom, think and act communally, and routinely confront issues of race, class, and gender exclusion. This ethnography uses data gathered during a seven-month field study in 2010 from a little-researched group of nearly 300 female members of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) to explore how Federation membership develops leaders and converts shack dwellers into homeowners. Organizational challenges, accomplishments, values, and beliefs were used to measure Federation women’s knowledge, politics, and practices. Overall, findings suggest that a combi¬nation of factors, including the membership-based organization of the poor, Africana womanist ideologies, self-help housing, and communal leadership practices, help poor women catalyze women’s rights, develop leadership skills, and reduce poverty by converting Federation shack dwellers into Federation homeowners. Those dwellings, in turn, stabilize and make more secure the economic, social, and political lives of Federation families. Results have academic and applied importance to illumine how Africana womanist and self-help practices are occurring in severely impoverished spaces, as well as how ideology translates into praxis.
It is a condition of publication that authors vest the copyright of their reviews and articles, including abstracts, in the publisher of JNS, Otjivanda Presse. This enables us to ensure full copyright protection and the dissemination of the article and the journal to the widest possible readership. Authors may use the article elsewhere after publication as long as reference to its publication in JNS is provided. Authors are themselves responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyright material from other sources.