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Informal micro-enterprises in a township context: A spatial analysis of business dynamics in five Cape Town localities

Andrew Charman and Leif PetersenNovember 01, 2014

In South African economic development scholarship there has been an enduring interest in the informal economy since the late 1970s (Preston-Whyte and Rogerson, 1991). The roots of this fascination lie in the social sciences and ethnographic studies on the survival strategies of the poor among urban dwellers and rural subsistence populations. Writing about the urban poor in Accra in the 1960s, Keith Hart (1973) (whose analysis inspired much of the early scholarship) drew attention to the importance of non-formal employment in the livelihoods of those social strata that he termed as the ‘sub-proletariat’.