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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Settler Farmers and Coerced African Labour in Southern Rhodesia, 1936-1946
Author:Johnson, David
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
forced labour
History and Exploration
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/182277
Abstract:This paper focuses on the interrelationship between the State, settler farmers and African labour in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during the years 1936-1946. The Second World War presented an opportunity for undercapitalized European farmers to enlist State support in securing African labour that they could not obtain through market forces alone. Historically, these farmers depended heavily on a supply of cheap labour from the Native Reserves and from the colonies to the north, especially Nyasaland (Malawi). But the opportunities for Africans to sell their labour in other sectors of the Southern Rhodesian economy and in the Union of South Africa, or to at least determine the timing and length of their entry into wage employment, meant that settler farmers seldom obtained an adequate supply of labour. Demands for increased food production, a wartime agrarian crisis and a diminished supply of external labour all combined to ensure that the State capitulated in the face of requests for Africans to be conscripted into working for Europeans as a contribution to the Imperial war effort. The resulting mobilization of thousands of African labourers under the Compulsory Native Labour Act (1942) corrects earlier scholarship on Southern Rhodesia which asserted that State intervention in securing labour supplies was of importance only up to the 1920s. The paper also shows that Africans did not remain passive before measures aimed at coercing them into producing value for settler farmers. Notes, ref.