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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The failure of stabilization experiments and the entrenchment of migrancy to the South African gold mines
Authors:Jeeves, Alan H.ISNI
Crush, JonathanISNI
Periodical:Labour, Capital and Society
Geographic term:South Africa
labour migration
gold mining
Abstract:The herding of South African black mineworkers into communal single-sex barracks away from their families has a long history. It developed alongside the migrant labour system itself and was fully functioning in the 1890s. This article deals with the frequent but episodic challenges to the system posed primarily by industrial unrest and labour shortages. It focuses on three occasions when severe difficulties raised basic questions about the migrant labour system: the decade following the Anglo-Boer War (1902), when an unorganized worker stay-at-home forced the industry to seek official support for recruitment outside southern Africa; the 1910s and 1920s, which saw the departure of the last Chinese workers and the ban on the employment of workers from Nyasaland; and the decade after 1945, when persistent black labour shortages led to the stabilization experiment undertaken by Anglo American, the company which became dominant on the opening of the Free State goldfields at the end of the 1940s. It shows that none of the periodic crises led to a fundamental shift in policy or to serious consideration of the abandonment of short-term migrancy as the fundamental way of mobilizing black labour. What began as a transitional phenomenon, became entrenched as a central feature of South Africa's society and the regional economy. Notes, ref., sum. in French.