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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Alomwe and Mozambican Immigrant Labor in Colonial Malawi, 1890-1945
Author:Chirwa, Wiseman C.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Malawi
Great Britain
labour migration
Labor and Employment
Urbanization and Migration
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/220758
Abstract:Contrary to the prevailing views, Malawi has been the recipient of large numbers of immigrants who have made a lasting impact on the country's labour force. During the colonial period, Alomwe or 'Anguru' immigrants from Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique) became an important source of labour in the Southern Province, the centre of the colonial economy. Their immigration began in the late 19th century and steadily increased between 1900 and 1945. Alomwe immigration occurred in four major phases. The first was prior to the 1890s, when ecological factors played an important role. The second phase extended from about 1892 to 1901, during which time officials of the Church of Scotland (Blantyre) Mission began to establish contacts with the African communities in Portuguese East Africa and the pattern of migration changed from one of individual seasonal migrant labourers to one of family units coming to settle permanently. The third phase (1903/4-1920s) was characterized by changes in the internal sources of agricultural labour in Nyasaland itself. The fourth phase, from the 1930s on, saw increasing numbers of migrant labourers coming to work on the expanding tea plantations. The paper shows that colonial Malawi did not suffer from a 'chronic labour shortage', but from seasonal variability and unregulated competition. Notes, ref.