Like Family Cover

Like Family

Domestic Workers in South African History and Literature

416 pages

April, 2019

ISBN: 9781776143511



Add to Cart Available: 3/11/2019

Also available in


Ena Jansen was professor of South African literature at the University of Amsterdam until 2016.

An analytic and historical perspective of literary texts to understand the position of domestic workers in South Africa
More than a million black South African women are domestic workers. Precariously situated between urban and rural areas,rich and poor, white and black, these women are at once intimately connected and at a distant remove from the families they serve. Ena Jansen shows that domestic worker relations in South Africa were shaped by the institution of slavery, establishing social hierarchies and patterns of behavior that persist today.  LikeFamily is an updated version of the award-winning Soos familie (2015) and the highly-acclaimed 2016 Dutch translation, Bijna familie.


  • Like Family deepens our understanding of how the institution both reflects and reproduces the savage inequalities on which our society continues to be  based.”

    —Jacklyn Cock, author of Maids and Madams: A Study in the Politics of Exploitation