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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The 1912 Wankie colliery strike
Author:Onselen, Charles vanISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
coal mining
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/181073
Abstract:Wankie colliery, in the north-west of Rhodesia, was opened in 1903. In 1912 about 160 of its 1,000 African workers came out on strike. The management interfered, and by January 1913 Wankie colliery was operating 'normally'. The system of cheap labour, severe production pressures, the outbreak of scurvy, defective food without opportunity of replenishment, maldistribution of rations, the practices of the management and its black staff, were the causes for the strike. Although the strike offers evidence of worker consciousness in early Rhodesian industry, the strike should not be interpreted as a sign of real or potential African radicalism. The African responses at Wankie reveal the essentially conservative nature of the demands made by the workers. The workers questioned the functioning of a repressive system, not the system itself. Notes, table, summary.