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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Hartebeestpoort Irrigation Scheme: a project of modernisation, segregation and white poverty alleviation, 1912-1926
Author:Middelmann, Temba John Dawson
Year:2015
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 1726-1686)
Volume:67
Issue:2
Pages:158-179
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:dams
irrigation
development projects
Whites
poverty
poverty reduction
1910-1919
1920-1929
Link:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02582473.2015.1062907
Abstract:Hartebeestpoort Dam, situated in the Magaliesberg mountain range in what is today South Africa's North-West Province, was conceptualised in the years leading up to 1914, with construction completed by 1925. It represented the first large-scale scheme in the country for water resource development, a true project of state modernisation carried out by the fledgling government of the Union of South Africa. Aimed at white poverty alleviation as the 'poor white problem' intensified, white labour was used in the construction process and a probationary agricultural settlement was established to rehabilitate 'poor whites' morally, socially and economically. This article outlines disagreements between the central state and various government departments, as well as opposition from local farming communities, during the construction period. These conflicts highlight the tensions between pragmatism and ideology within the increasingly segregationist state, providing an insight into the complexities involved in large-scale modernist projects of state formation. Despite delays and contestations, the government pursued the project determinedly and forced it through to completion. While South African historiography tends to view the 1924 election as a turning point in state intervention towards the upliftment of 'poor whites', this paper suggests a greater degree of continuity in white poverty alleviation policies between Smuts's and Hertzog's governments. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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