Debby Bonnin (Department of Sociology, University of Pretoria)

The ‘Durban Strikes’ is a signifier for many things - the ‘start’ of the independent labour movement, the beginning of a period of labour reform, the impetuses for the resistance that eventually bought down the Apartheid regime.  A google scholar search tags thousands of references, yet it seems that research which focuses on the strikes themselves is limited.  What then is the scholarship of the Durban Strikes? 

This paper intends to document and analyse the archive of research on the 1973 Durban Strikes.  It will explore the following questions. ‘How extensive is the literature on the Durban strikes’? What are the narratives of the strike? What are the main themes in this literature? How does the  literature change over time?


Debby Bonnin is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria.  Her research focus is on work and labour in South Africa.