Citation: Dachs Muller, Bronwen. 2021. Sewing the Seams: Cape Town Homeworkers Pull Together as COVID-19 Halts Earnings. WIEGO Workers' Lives No. 12. WIEGO.
Homeworkers in the garment industry are the most vulnerable and exploited link in the supply chain and Cape Town homeworker Chevonne Jacobs found that having more than one source of income was her saving grace when COVID-19 hit. Selling cosmetics on commission provided a critical trickle of cash when the subcontracted sewing orders she relies on dried up.
There was no relief from government for Chevonne or the women in her family and community who sew with her. Though this was a time of desperation, she turned away two jobs where she would at best have broken even.
The exploitative rates would stop if the value of the role of homeworkers was recognized. While advocates work to achieve this, Chevonne tries to have more than one source of income at all times and she will tell her three daughters to do the same.
“We women need to empower ourselves,” she says.