Nicholas Abrams is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. His dissertation research is an ethnography of precarious labour and of labour activism in the industrial manufacturing and construction industries of Africa’s busiest port-city—Durban, South Africa. Nicholas’s work focuses on a novel form of non-unionized and grassroots labour activism which has emerged in this industry out of the political machine associated with elements of organized crime linked to the African National Congress in Durban. Here his research investigates the politics of post-apartheid nation building by attending to this conflict that he trances between labour activists, industrial manufacturing companies, and the so-called ‘mafia’ groups that run much of city’s construction industry. In doing so, Nicholas’ research provides a bottom-up account of the forms of governance (patronage and “mafia” machine politics) which shape development and popular politics within this post-colonial context.