Friday, May 14, 2010

South Africa as a contemporary frontier society

Beyond the common knowledge of South Africa’s violent history and the anti-apartheid struggle, one of my first intimate encounters with South Africa was my reading of J.J. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians a few years ago. The image of this dusty frontier town stranded at the edge of nowhere and left to fend for itself in the dying days of the Empire against an imaginary barbarian army moving ever closer has stayed with me, as an especially eloquent account of the human capacity to distort reality in order to frame it within one’s own world view. For the reader quickly comes to understand that the feared Barbarians where never coming and that it is, au contraire, the settlers who kept going beyond the boundaries of their frontier town, provoking encounters with the Other that took place almost exclusively on Barbarian land. Despite this fact, the fear of an imminent invasion ends up plunging the town in a sort of collective hysteria and the town ends up collapsing in on itself, self-destructing through the symbolic torture of the Magistrate, the main character in the novel.

An important detail to point out, the Magistrate’s downfall begins with an intimate relationship with a Barbarian girl and his decision to take her back to her people after attempting to heal the wounds inflicted on her by his compatriots. Herein lies a perfect representation of an intrigue that keeps playing out again and again in the Western imagination. By showing the girl a grain of humanity, the magistrate is somehow corrupted and ends up being treated like a barbarian himself. What is especially perverse about this relationship is how it is framed through a bestowing of generosity, sympathy and humanity by the magistrate on the girl. Through this relationship, the constant pushing of the frontier town’s boundaries into Barbarian land, the continual transgression and invasion of this land, is portrayed as a humanitarian mission, a good deed. The settler crosses into Barbarian land, not to colonize the Barbarians, invade their land or violate their women, but to save one of their own and return her to her people, even though she is returned blinded and maimed.

So what does this story tell us about the concept of the frontier? I think the operating word here is limit. Being at the frontier implies being on the precipice, on the edge. The colony is the last frontier of civilization and a place where settlers live at the limits of their own humanity. The lands beyond settler towns are mythical, magical, apocalyptical places where civilized human beings encounter spirits, barbarians and the ever-present potentiality of death. Every step beyond the boundaries of the frontier town implies either the risk of death, or even worse, contamination.

I think the notion of limit, being at the limits, might be a productive way of using the concept of the frontier for thinking about contemporary South Africa. When I visited Johannesburg for the first time last year, I was overwhelmed with this visceral feeling of being constantly at the precipice of something big, an Event, of walking a fine line between risk and potentiality, absolute demise and an utopian future. This is especially paradoxical as many would argue convincingly that South Africans are living through a post-Event period and not the contrary, that is, the period after apartheid. And yet that feeling of being at the limits of something remains quite persistent. It reveals itself in the sense of anxiety that permeates through daily life, anxiety about arbitrary death at the hands of a mugger, anxiety about xenophobia rearing its ugly head once more, anxiety about falling into patterns of auto-destruction that have beleaguered other African countries. That anxiety, however, is constantly tempered by a deep sense of hope, pride, and optimism in the future that feeds on the fact that South Africa, despite having every reason to collapse in on itself, to destroy itself, has somehow managed to hold itself together and that it continues to work through the mess and ruins of its history without descending into the abyss. And so symbolically, by constantly swinging between imminent death and renaissance, by continuing to struggle with its demons, real and imagined, as it simultaneously moves forward, pushing the boundary of the precipice a few feet in front of it, just far enough not to fall over the edge, but close enough to look down below and be faced with the abyss, South Africa is very much a frontier society. It is a site where the frontier of humanity is constantly negotiated and renegotiated, for it is where an atrocity took place and managed to settle in long enough to create its own perverse logic, and where another atrocity was somehow avoided, as liberation from apartheid took the unlikely, ambiguous, but nevertheless deeply ethical path of reconciliation.

In a contemporary context, where the notion of the frontier has been replaced with the much more rigid and limited notion of the border, or diluted into a depoliticized notion of borderlessness and cosmopolitanism, I think it might be useful to reinvent the concept of the frontier as a site where human potentiality is simultaneously realized and circumcised. The frontier is not a no man’s land, nor is it a neutral space for well-intended, moderated dialogue. The frontier is characterized by a landscape of extremes, where survival remains an open question and where anxiety and fear are potent motivators for inventiveness as well as apocalyptic impulses. A frontier society in contemporary times is a site where necropolitics and the politics of hope meet, where a utopian vision for the future is constantly undercut by the remains and stigmatas of the past. It is an environment of extremes where individuals and groups are confronted with the risks and possibilities of being at the limits of their own habitus, histories, ethics, and at the limits of the racial, economical, cultural, political configurations that have served as their points of reference.

One can argue that the concept of the frontier is more relevant than ever, as colonial metropolises are slowly turning into frontier societies. Europe and North America are enveloping themselves in discourses of fear and anxiety about the inevitable arrival of barbarians from their former colonies just as they begin to be faced with the true implications of their discourses on universal human rights and their humanitarian interventions.

As a country that has been faced with these fundamental questions and lived through their consequences, South Africa can be an especially rich site for exploring the potentiality and limits of the concept of the frontier today. If we draw on the South African experience, the frontier might be a stimulating concept to think and imagine a radical humanism as it pushes us to face the limits of humanity and inhumanity, and examine the various forms each might take in contemporary societies.

Yara El-Ghadban
Université de Montréal

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sawyer seminar - institutionalizing and internalizing divisions

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) was awarded a Sawyer Seminar by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to host a series of events during 2010 and 2011. The Seminar is to be used to develop fresh perspectives on the quandaries and puzzles of the present democratic moment in South Africa from the vantage point of the relationship between race, property and poverty and justice. More information on the series is available on http://www.sawyerseminar-wits.co.za/

The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC) is hosting the series, beginning its reading group with a series on Old and New Racial Formations. Over the next months, participants will reflect on the readings and discussions on race. This posting is by Christina Cielo, a doctoral fellow with the JWTC.

Please feel free to participate in the developing conversation by posting comments.

Institutionalizing and Internalizing Divisions: Miscegenation, Segregation and De-Segregation

The conversation in the Sawyer Seminar Series on segregation emerged from a set of readings that highlighted historically institutionalized processes of race-making in South Africa. But an abiding concern in the readings and in the discussion was also the inability of racial categories to contain biological, social and economic phenomena.

This was evident in an extraordinary study we read on the early 20th century production of the tuberculosis epidemic in the black South African population. In White Plague, Black Labor, Randall Packard gathers a wealth of data to show that the extent of the tuberculosis epidemic among black South Africans was related to the ways that their labor was exploited. Government policies directed by the economic interests of first mining, then urban industrialization, dictated blacks' spatial mobility, which in turn exacerbated their collective vulnerability to the disease.

Participants in the seminar linked this historical study to the current AIDS epidemic in South Africa. This idea sparked further remarks on the entanglements of contagion and fear, intimacy and race. Discussions of race relations often invoke its association with economic and social or symbolic power. But we need to look beyond power as domination and begin to try to understand the complex intertwining of affect and power. Urban white residents were uncomfortably close to the tuberculosis epidemic among migrant laboring Africans, and used it to justify segregation policies in the early 20th century. If urban segregation was the fearful response to the contagion of “white plague” in that period, to what extent is the economic segregation of private and public health care systems a fearful response to health risks today?

But the story, as ever, is more complicated. It is not just that fear and power drive segregation and its consequent inequalities. There is always the excess of affect that mires such a direct cause-effect relation. Emotions and identifications do not fit neatly into categories that are authoritatively imposed. In the 20th century consolidation of South Africa as a white nation, it was precisely the cleavages among whites as a group that shaped particular segregation policies. The 1913 Native Land Act that created black reserves kept rural whites and blacks from becoming too familiar or equal. If that were tolerated, as a proponent of the bill said, “they would soon find that they would be a bastard nation” (in Gilliomee, p.309). And such a nation would do little to sustain the driving economic force of industrialization that depended on categorical divisions of laborers. In the interest of capital, racial and class categories were adjusted hand in hand. One seminar participant asked, “Can you even put in place a structure of segregation without calibrating class categories as well?”

Early segregation policies were also shaped by an acknowledgement of the ways that identity is affectively grounded in particular places. The 1923 Native Urban Areas Act, passed on the heels of an influenza epidemic in Cape Town, restricted where blacks could live in cities. It attempted to prevent blacks from internalizing an identification with the industrializing cities which nevertheless needed their labor. Blacks' sense of belonging to the cities would be tantamount to a first step in making it theirs. As the prime minister of the Cape said, Africans should “go back to the place whence they came – to the native territories, where they should really make their home” (in Gilliomee, p.292). Yet the relatively small tracts of land reserved for what were eventually called “homelands” were wholly inadequate to sustain the majority black population. Since 1918, African homelands sustained less than a third of their inhabitants. By 1976, the proportion of homeland families' income from urban areas was over 70% (Gilliomee and Schlemmer, p.7).

The legitimizing narrative of segregation shifted throughout the 20th century. By the 1960s, homelands were defined as separate nations, with their own authorities and citizenry. Yet this was in no way a threat to the white nation that South Africa was forging: “After all, what nation state can be held responsible for the educational expenditure or the unemployment, old-age and other welfare benefits needed in another sovereign land?” (Wilson, p.61). South Africa's process of capital accumulation in the first part of the 20th century assured that investment took place not in these separate Bantustans, but in the cities that legislation prevented becoming black South Africans' “homes.” The result was a dependence that deprived the homelands of economic, social and symbolic power, forestalling any real political or economic sovereignty.

The parallels with contemporary international relations are striking. A colleague Marcel Paret is working on research that compares black migrant labor policies through apartheid in South Africa with current U.S. migration policies. Arizona, one of the four U.S. states that border Mexico, recently passed a bill that makes it a crime to fail to carry immigration documents and gives police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Marcel pointed out that this state bill controls Latinos and Mexican migrants in the United States just as the pass system controlled black labor in apartheid South Africa. In each case, the creation of a class of potential criminals presumes and constructs race.

Segregation depends on borders and fences. The sheer preponderance of physical boundaries in South Africa has come up repeatedly in the seminar. There was the bitter almond hedge built in 1660 in the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch to keep their settlers apart from the vast land that stretched up and beyond their ken. We ruminated on the mythic and material importance of the frontier in previous seminars. And now in Johannesburg, there are high walls and fences, many electric and alarmed, around homes to keep their residents safe. Perhaps, as a seminar participant commented, we need to better understand the conditions that make for constant fence-building. One thing that has become clear is our discussion is that fences, here and elsewhere, depend on and produce processes of racialization.

Yet post-apartheid, post-multiculturalism, distinctions and divisions do not map onto race quite so neatly. There is now an emerging black elite in South Africa. Differences are now incorporated into unequal systems, rather than used as the basis for explicit exclusions. Claims for the universality of citizen and human rights have also meant that the equality of human work can lead to its objectification as a commodity. As Simone Weil intimated some 60 years ago, there is indeed a profound link between human rights conceived as goods (i.e. the right to water, the right to health, etc.) and a market-based development model. Thus it is no surprise that universalization of “participation” throughout the developing world in the last decades has not transformed structures of inequalities. In Bolivia, for example, the Law of Popular Participation extended access to the state by incorporating local differences into decision-making mechanisms. So the customary authority, for example, is also the community's representative within the municipality. But critics note that this recognition and integration of cultural distinctions has also allowed difference to be “managed within a general economy of domination” (Crespo and Fernandez, p.37).

Still, the continued insistence on institutional respect for local and ethnic distinctions is a fundamental part of indigenous social movements worldwide. Last year, the Republic of Bolivia officially became the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Its new constitution defends not only representative and participatory democracy, but communal democracy as well, in an attempt to negotiate between positive and customary rights frameworks. In this context, and with a government brought to power by indigenous social movements, how are Bolivian state institutions and national legislation conceiving and racializing difference?

To answer that question is far beyond the scope of this blog entry. But I wonder if attempts to make and institutionalize distinctions and separations are unavoidable. After all, we need conceptual fences. It is our ability to distinguish differences, to define patterns and categories that help us make sense of and act on our world. But when do collective demarcations and borders become debilitating? When do definitions of who we are, and who others are, divide and blind and oppress us?

Following the ideas raised in the seminar, perhaps it may help us to take seriously the facts of excess and affect. Institutions and legislation not only produce results but also people with unexpected and radically different ways of seeing and experiencing and connecting to the world. The ways that we conceive of the institution of property, for example, would have to consider factors beyond market exchange values and even Marxist use values. Property and space, rather, are vital to a sense of belonging and becoming. Power and race relations are thus not only about segregation and domination, but also about the impossibility of the closure of racialized domination. This may help us understand the haphazardness and contingency of the historical processes of race-making. With this in mind, we can also more clearly see what today's divisions and categorizations, miscegenations and de-segregations, do for us and why. And so shape the horizons of our possibilities of living together.

By Christina Cielo


Packard, Randall. 1990. White plague, black labor: tuberculosis and the political economy of health and disease in South Africa. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.

Giliomee, Hermann. 2003. The Afrikaners : biography of a people. Cape Town: Tafelberg.

Giliomee, Hermann and Lawrence Schlemmer, eds. 1985. Up against the fences: poverty, passes and privilege in South Africa. Cape Town: D. Philip.

Wilson, Francis. 1985. "Mineral wealth and rural poverty: an analysis of the economic foundations of the political boundaries of South Africa," in Giliomee and Schlemmer (eds.)

Crespo, Carlos and Omar Fernandez. 2001. Los campesinos regantes de Cochabamba en la Guerra del Agua. Cochabamba: CESU/ UMSS/ FEDECOR.

Sawyer seminar - on 'race' relations

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) was awarded a Sawyer Seminar by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to host a series of events during 2010 and 2011. The Seminar is to be used to develop fresh perspectives on the quandaries and puzzles of the present democratic moment in South Africa from the vantage point of the relationship between race, property and poverty and justice. More information on the series is available on http://www.sawyerseminar-wits.co.za/

The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC) is hosting the series, and the first reading group on Old and New Racial Formations began last week. Over the next months, participant will reflect on the readings and the discussions on race. This posting is by Brigitte Bagnol.

Please feel free to participate in the developing conversation by posting comments.

On ‘Race’ relations: Contours, lines, frontiers and borders

Taking upon Joan Scott’s invitation (1988: 44) to use her analysis of the process of construction of gender relationships to analyse other social process such as race, ethnicity and class, I would like to embark in this challenge adapting her model to “race” relations.

Paraphrasing Scott (1988: 42-49) my definition of “race” has two main parts and several interrelated elements. “Race” is a constitutive element of social relations based on perceived differences between people of different physiognomic and or physical characteristics but also of distinct linguistic and ethnic/national groups. “Race” is one of the social markers signifying relations of power. It can be a primary or a secondary way of signifying relations of power depending on the context and the structures of power of which it forms part.

Relations between groups of people of different origins or physical characteristics are also very often informed by perceived differences based on class and which are used to maintain unequal economic relation. But, for this reason, transformations in the forms of production and exploitation create different relationships and different forms of perceptions between people of different physical characteristics or origin. This is so because relations of alliances and conflicts evolve over time according to forms of production and exploitation thus modifying social boundaries and opening possibilities for the establishment of new forms of relations between people from different social classes and groups.

Social relations based on perceived differences between people of different colour and groups are influenced by factors that are specific to a context, thus stressing the importance of an emphasis on localised analysis. But they are also informed by a world history and globalized economic and cultural policies. The latter might explain why “race” relations and expressions of asymmetries, marginalization and discrimination have many similarities in France, United States, Brazil or South Africa although the history of these relations differs widely.

The question we need to ask is in what conditions and under which discursive and political situation specific differences become a determinant characteristic of relation between people? Among the factors shaping perceived differences between people of different colour/ethnicity/nationality one can distinguish the symbolic order which includes the language, signs and norms as well as the political and legal system; and the subjective identities.

1- Cultural symbols and norms (here I am condensing two categories developed by Scott)

Myths, lends, cultural concepts about colour/ethnicity/nationality associated with social value offer representations about differences that set up hierarchies. By example, dichotomic vision of white/black, pure/impure, light/dark, life/death, luck/bad luck, good/evil have influenced and might continue to influence perceptions of people of different colour/ethnicity/nationality. Cultural symbols are found and reproduced in context such as kinship, religious, educational, healing, political and legal systems and contribute to the creation of iconic and fixed identities in opposition to a reality of contestations and challenges of these symbols and norms.

2- Political context and legislation available

The national policies of inclusion or exclusion of different groups according to colour/ethnicity/nationality might or might not open possibilities for (re)imagining boundaries of identities and (re)thinking old culturally constructed archetypal identities. Policies such as Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa or the institution of racial quotas in Brazil contribute to the reformulation of identities or the fixation of identities based on colour/ethnicity/nationality.

3- Subjective identities

The search for a colour/ethnic/national identity evolves through a more or less transitory and circumstantial fixation at a certain time, in a given circumstance and along the life cycle. People with a basic colour/ethnic/national identity may play out a different colour/ethnicity/nationality identity depending on conventions, personal interest and social pressures. As queer studies indicate, identity can be separated from the physical body allowing people to experience identity without embodiment of physical characteristics. People in situations of migration experience the anxiety of non-identities, des-identities or trans-identities in-between borders, continents at the margins of assigned identities and in the process of creating a new identity. There is not a unique and monolithic way of being and feeling that one belong to a specific colour/ethnic/national identity as other markers of social identify might interfere or even supersede. Thus, aspects such as intersectionality (gender, age, kinship, lineage, religion, education, class) and performativity also need to be considered as they have a significant role in shaping perception of differences and social relations among polychromatic, polyethnic and polynational groups and individuals.

By Brigitte Bagnol

Scott, Wallach Joan. 1988. Gender a Useful Category of Historical Gender Analysis. In: Gender and the Politics of History. New York: Columbia University Press, 28-50.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sawyer seminar - On Fences

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) was awarded a Sawyer Seminar by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to host a series of events during 2010 and 2011. The Seminar is to be used to develop fresh perspectives on the quandaries and puzzles of the present democratic moment in South Africa from the vantage point of the relationship between race, property and poverty and justice. More information on the series is available on http://www.sawyerseminar-wits.co.za/

The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC) is hosting the series, and the first reading group on Old and New Racial Formations began last week. Over the next months, participant will reflect on the readings and the discussions on race. Today’s blogging is by Ruth McFarlane.

Please feel free to participate in the developing conversation by posting comments.

On Fences

Often it is the visually rich metaphors in the texts we prepare for our Sawyer Seminar study group sessions that stay with me the longest. This week the metaphor of “fences” was a thread throughout the readings.

Driving around, a visitor in this construction-riddled city girdled in yellow barricades, chain-link and orange plastic tarp strung between rods rammed into the earth – this city, this country, on the verge of welcoming the rest of the globe – I see fences of all kinds, both old and new. I think about people feverishly constructing a version of themselves to present to the world in a few short weeks. I think about modern cities built on layers of ancient ruins, relics of the conquered, and I wonder about all that is hidden under this new pavement.

For the April 28th meeting, the Sawyer Seminar study group prepared texts dealing, generally, with segregation; its political and social history as well as patterns of poverty and disease and emerging labour and class hierarchies directly related to the design and implementation of pass laws and other controls of the apartheid system. It is often tempting, in our discussion of these troubling texts about the ‘old South Africa’ to spring forward and speculate about more hopeful possibilities for the future. But one participant wisely warned against moving into the future too quickly. Our first task, he reminded us, is to understand where we have been, what happened and why it happened.

An interesting theme that developed in the discussion was the relationship between notions of excess and the fences created by influx control policies. The comparison was made between the difference in the way U.S. slaves were treated before and after the British began the process of abolishing slavery, and the shifting policies regarding urban black labor in South Africa as borders beyond the city became more rigid and a labor surplus developed in rural and former “reserve” areas. Prior to abolition, the life of a slave working in the harsh conditions on plantations in the American South was understood to be seven years – slaves were literally worked to death. A steady supply of new bodies took the place of the dead. With British abolition new bodies became less readily available and the value and health of the enslaved became more relevant to the labor needs of the plantation masters. Not only did relationships change between master and slave but political tensions and legal battles arose between slave-holding states and non slave-holding states as issues of manumission, runaways, ownership of offspring, and illegal trafficking became more important.

A similar interplay of access and excess in the South African contest emerges in Giliomee and Schlemmer’s discussion of the independence of former “reserve” areas. Describing a shift in political opinion among South African leaders towards supporting the independence of Lesotho and Mozambique, the authors ask, “what nation state can be held responsible for the educational expenditure or the unemployment, old-age and other welfare benefits needed in another sovereign land?” The new sovereignty of these regions created borders at which the employment obligations of government and industry were conveniently detained. Political control remained virtually unchanged, however, as the new nations were still reliant on old, established patterns of migratory labor and highly vulnerable to economic coercion. Meanwhile, this side of the labor fence, new categories developed in urban black communities around access to jobs and in terms of permission to reside in the city permanently, quasi-permanently or only temporarily. As in the example from American slavery, new restrictions on access to employment created hierarchies within the black population and necessitated more intricate calibration of class and control. Fences created sovereignty but also denied it. Fences created new relationships not only between masters and servants but among the servants themselves.

Borders operate on our imagination and our morality. We imagine each other across the barrier and, in the process, we imagine ourselves. Slum removals, pass laws, and segregation all allowed white people to distance themselves, to imagine in various ways that the black population on the other side of the fence was irrelevant. This is, perhaps, best illustrated by Packard who highlights the drop in municipal tuberculosis statistics following the passage of the Slum Clearance Act in 1934 when black communities with high death rates were moved outside the city limit and outside the statistical population. And yet the fence is there, bearing witness, insisting silently that the people on the other side must have a terrible relevance. In his biography of the Afrikaans people, Giliomee writes about three Afrikaner leaders’ views on segregation at the beginning of the 20th century. Although Sauer, Hertzog and Smuts differed on policy and possibility of equality, they agreed on something critical: all three men feared that equality among white and black people would spell annihilation of the white race in South Africa. The terrible relevance of blackness, otherness, pressing in at the fences served to convince the people inside that the perimeter must be protected at all costs and ratcheted to full-throttle the amorality of self-preservation.

The most dynamic moment in the discussion came close to the end of our time together when one participant admitted that she wondered how anyone could read these texts and not feel them viscerally. “These readings fucked me up. They really fucked me up.” The rawness of this comment got directly at the messiness of our project. We are a group of South Africans and foreigners from various professional and academic backgrounds, multiracial and diverse in many other respects as well. Sitting down to discuss the historical, economic, and sociopolitical context of South African policies of racial segregation, we encounter not just the fences of our collective pasts but the fences of our present and, among these, boundaries that are freighted with personal significance. In the course of our project of excavating the past, it seems impossible that we will not also dredge up deep, specific feelings about what has happened, what was done and left undone, or as one participant put it who was allowed to live and who was allowed to die.

Framing her comment, my colleague spoke about the distribution of milk to black urban locations in the 1930s as described by Packard. Her illustration asked us to focus on the horror of this one particular effect of urban segregation. The borders around black locations within the cities created economic and social conditions that severely limited access to food and literally starved black urban dwellers. Packard relates numerous studies from the 1920s and 1930s showing that black workers did not earn enough to buy food that would support basic nutritional requirements. Milk, among other staples, such as bread, was not readily available. Often only surplus milk not purchased by white consumers was delivered to black communities and even the surplus milk was too expensive for many. Instead many black city dwellers purchased condensed milk, which was more affordable because it could be diluted. Often the condensed milk was diluted until very little nutritional value remained. Not even milk, one of the most basic (and symbolic) sources of nutrition, made it through the fence unregulated. This illustration was important because it invited us, as a group, to cross the barrier between our work as scholars and our emotional response as human beings. We were reminded that a visceral reading of the text allows access to ways of understanding that are specifically located in the body. To understand who was allowed to live and who was allowed to die, to understand what happened and why it happened, it may sometimes be necessary for the texts to fuck us up.

Gilliomee and Schlemmer’s image of laborers trampling the fence around the rural labor commission office at the announcement of recruitment opportunities is, for me, both a bleak and hopeful one. Fences, laws, never keep everyone out. They can be trampled and broken as simply as they are erected if, generally, at much greater personal sacrifice and tragedy. Human beings will trample fences not just to make money but to find food, to chase the dream of a better life, to live with their families, and to have enough milk for their children. Fences can only withstand so much pressure and human beings always push very hard to survive.

Ruth McFarlane