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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Economics and Ethnicity: The Italian Community in Malawi
Author:McCracken, John
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Malawi
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:This article focuses on the Italian community in Malawi, one of the smallest immigrant minority groups in Central Africa, but by no means the least important. Using the records of the Custodian of Enemy Property housed in the National Archives of Malawi, it suggests that, in the light of the Italian experience, there is need to modify the conventional view of the white farming sector as being uniformly inefficient and incapable of survival other than through the active support of the colonial State. At a time between the wars when capitalist farming as a whole was in deep depression, Ignaco Conforzi succeeded in creating a highly profitable, diversified agricultural empire which survived the Second World War virtually intact. Through his influence, an Italian community was created, drawn largely from the same small area of central Italy from which he himself had come. Like members of other ethnic groups, these immigrants were constantly balancing their multiple identities - as whites, as farmers or mechanics, as Italians, or as natives of a particular district in Italy. Between the mid-1930s and the mid-1940s external and internal forces combined to transform them into a classic minority. Notes, ref.