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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Blood-Stained Tax: Poll Tax and the Bambatha Rebellion in South Africa
Author:Redding, Sean
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:Bambatha rebellion
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/524983
Abstract:The Bambatha revolt in South Africa is one of the most cited rebellions against taxation in colonial Africa. Most discussions of the revolt have emphasized its material and political causes. Material grievances certainly predisposed at least some of the population to act violently when the new poll tax was first collected in 1906, but they do not supply a complete explanation for the revolt. Africans resisted the poll tax in part because they feared that the State had acquired more potentially destructive power over them via the census that preceded the tax. Based on rumors that reportedly circulated prior to the rebellion, many Africans attributed their misfortune at the hands of the colonial State to their ancestors having turned their backs on them; and people fully expected a thunderstorm to punish them severely for their neglect. One way of placating the ancestors and of undermining the power of the colonial State was through active participation in the rebellion. Moreover, rebels were not merely reacting to State actions, they were acting in accordance with their own belief systems that suggested that the ancestors strongly supported their resistance and would allow them to prevail. Thus, the Bambatha revolt was an armed revolt that was seriously intended to overthrow the colonial State both by force of arms and by power of supernatural actors. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French.