ArticlesVolume 3, Number 1 (1992)

“Inthuthuko Means That We Are Going Forward”: Hearing the Voices of Domestic Workers in South Africa


Just as law itself, in trying to speak for all persons, ends up silencing those without power, feminist legal theory is in danger of silencing those who have traditionally been kept from speaking, or who have been ignored when they spoke. . .

In May of 1991, I was caught up in the last-minute preparations for spending my summer in South Africa on a human rights internship. While much of the preparation involved the details of a visa and plane tickets, the most important part revolved around planning for the work I would do there and deciding just what I wanted to take out of it. I had chosen to work with the Black Sash Legal Advice Office in Johannesburg because I knew it would provide me the opportunity to speak directly with African” women, to find out what they faced, how they felt, what they hoped to change in their lives, and how they hoped to effect that change. This information, I decided, would form the basis for an article on the conditions of African women in South Africa.