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Prickly pear: The social history of a plant in the Eastern Cape - William Beinart & Luvuyo Wotshela (First edition)

Prickly pear: The social history of a plant in the Eastern Cape - William Beinart & Luvuyo Wotshela (First edition)

Regular price R 249.00 ZAR
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While there are many studies of the global influence of crops and plants, this is perhaps the first social history based around a plant in South Africa. Plants are not quite historical actors in their own right, but their properties and potential help to shape human history.

Plants such as prickly pear tend to be invisible to those who do not use them, or at least on the peripheries of people's consciousness. This book explains why they were not peripheral to many people in the Eastern Cape and why a wild and sometimes invasive cactus from Mexico, that found its way around the world over 200 years ago, remains important to African women in shacks and small towns.

The central tension at the heart of this history concerns different and sometimes conflicting human views of prickly pear. Some accepted or enjoyed its presence; others wished to eradicate it. While commercial livestock farmers initially found the plant enormously valuable, they came to see it as a scourge in the early twentieth century as it invaded farms and commonages. But for impoverished rural and small town communities of the Eastern Cape it was a godsend. In some places it still provides a significant income for poor black families. Debates about prickly pear - and its cultivated spineless variety - have played out in unexpected ways over the last century and more. 

The content of Prickly Pear is based on intensive archival research, on interviews conducted in the Eastern Cape by the authors, as well as on their observations of how people in the area use and consume the plant.

Condition

Very Good (VG): I may show some small signs of wear - but no tears - on either binding or paper.

Dimensions

L: 24cm; W: 17cm; H:2.5cm

Weight

0.5 kg

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This is a previously loved book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show some signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.

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