In the paper I offer a potted history of the last forty years in Glendale, a “rural” sugar-producing area located in the present Ndwedwe municipality, KwaZulu-Natal. I broadly document the economic demise of area, associated with the closure of the Sugar Mill, and focus o two discussions during the 1970s: One about the “proper” place for Indians and the second about possibility of “regenerating” the African peasantry. Based on this, I reflected on the racially marked positions that shape perspectives on the histories I recount.
This paper is an attempt at a historical “prologue” to an analysis of the contemporary anxieties associated with making home in contemporary Glendale. In the broader analysis, I will attempt to show that we cannot explain people’s difficulties solely through a reference to economics, by exploring how people, in very similar economic circumstances and living in the same area, construct very different worlds around themselves, and displaying very different orientations and anxieties. I will also analyse the relationship between these people and the Post-Apartheid state that makes them into economic figures whose levels of development can be measured in order to design “appropriate interventions”.