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Sustaining livelihoods in Norton town after deindustrialization in Zimbabwe

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This thesis explored urban livelihoods in the context of rapid urbanisation and failing economic/industrial growth in Norton town, Zimbabwe. The aim was to explore alternative livelihoods in the town in a constricted socioeconomic environment and address sustainability issues around them. To arrive at the answer, the study first explored the impacts of deindustrialisation on the local economy and livelihoods, examined how social actors are reenacting their livelihoods, the challenges that confront them and how they are innovating past them. It also employed a hybrid of theories; modernisation, the actor-oriented, theory of practice and the livelihoods approach to enhance the theoretical understanding of critical issues under investigation. The study deployed qualitative research methods; key informant interviews, indepth interviews, focus group discussions, field observations and documentary sources. It discovered how in the absence of functioning formal economy, entrepreneurship; informal and SMEs, and urban agriculture have become instrumental in constructing urban livelihoods and sustaining life. It noted that although these livelihoods face a plethora of challenges, they have developed resilience, devising numerous innovations that have strengthened them. Included here are strategies such as invasion-induced occupation of urban spaces, home-based enterprises, multiple-livelihoods, saving clubs, use of ICT and social media platforms to share information, innovative marketing strategies and adoption of the e-payment system, among others. The contributions to knowledge of the study are manifold. Firstly, it roped in Adichie‟s „The Danger of a Single Story‟ narrative to conceptualise and justify multiple-data collection methods as well as to simplify and emphasise the importance of triangulation in enhancing data credibility. Secondly, it developed the „Hobbipreneurship‟ model to suggest how hobbies can be turned into entrepreneurial activities. Thirdly, it „invented‟ the idea of „reverse modernity‟ as a critique to the modernisation theory. Fourthly, it explored how the informal/SMEs sectors have penetrated the formal supply chain system as part of its resilience, resulting in a new complicated supply chain system. Fifthly, it emphasised the role of „spirituality‟, „hope‟ and ICT in constructing livelihoods especially in economies in crises and suggests that these should be stand-alone capitals in a revised livelihoods framework.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.