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Uncovering contracting norms in Khayelitsha stokvels
The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-01-02, DOI: 10.1080/07329113.2020.1728493
Andrew Hutchison

Abstract Most written accounts of traditional African customary law in South Africa do not describe a law of commercial contracting. This is despite the fact that contracting happens every day in South Africa’s largely African informal sector. This article reports the findings of a qualitative empirical study of stokvels (informal savings and credit associations) conducted in Khayelitsha, Cape Town in 2018. Stokvels are an example of the appropriation and adaptation of modern financialised practices into Indigenous African culture. As such, they present an example of Indigenous modernity, being neither Western nor traditional. I will argue that vernacular commercial norms may be found in modern stokvel practice, which is ordered through a system of private contracting.