Things Change

Black Material Culture and the Development of a Consumer Society in South Africa, 1800-2020


Since the early nineteenth century, the things which Black South Africans have had in their homes have changed completely. They have adopted things like tables, chairs, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and saucers, iron pots, beds, blankets, European clothing, and later electronic apparatus. Thus they claimed modernity, respectability and political inclusion. This book is the first systematic analysis of this development. It argues that the desire to possess such goods formed a major part of the drive behind the anti-apartheid struggle, and that the demand to consume has significantly influenced both the economy and the politics of the country.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Robert Ross, Ph.D. Cambridge (1974) has retired as Professor of African History at Leiden University. He is the author or editor of many books and articles, notably as chief editor of The Cambridge History of South Africa.
Historians of (South) Africa, from a senior undergraduate level upwards; students of material culture.
  • Collapse
  • Expand