This is a shortened draft version of the final chapter of my dissertation, entitled: ‘Apartheid
Modern: Sasol and the Making of a South African company town’. It is rather more
ethnographic than the rest of the dissertation, and I’d like to think that it will eventually
help bring aspects of the larger thesis full circle through a kind of sociology of young lives in
contemporary Zamdela township – in the aftermath of the decline of employment and
paternalism -- and my attempted exploration of the “work” of history in the present.
Preceding chapters will deal in somewhat more conventionally historical terms with the
establishment of the SASOL project, the role of SASOL in the making of whiteness and
anti-apartheid techno-imaginations; modernist town planning; civic culture, consumption,
battles over industrial and domestic labour, black modernisms in Zamdela township and
hostels, the meanings of work & paternalism etc etc. I’ve tagged an epilogue on the end of
the chapter which throws fresh material gathered on my last research trip to Sasolburg into
the mix. I’d greatly appreciate your help with thinking through how to bring the two parts
together…your comments & suggestions are most welcome!