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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Desperate Men': The 1914 Rebellion and the Politics of Poverty
Author:Swart, SandraISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic term:South Africa
History and Exploration
Labor and Employment
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582470008671372
Abstract:Twelve years after the end of the South African War (1899-1902), a handful of men in the rural backwaters of the southwestern Transvaal and northeastern Free State tried to overthrow the young South African State. Out of the almost 12,000 men who took part in the uprising, only 281 were prosecuted as leaders, the rest were considered rank and file. The bulk of the rebels was made up of poor whites, the so-called 'desperate classes'. This article focuses on these rank and file members and explores their motives for going into rebellion. It traces the economic crisis of the years prior to 1914 that led to the creation of a class of poor whites, and their increasing loss of faith in the State's efforts towards amelioration. The discussion delineates the way in which the economic crisis impacted on the poor whites' identity as fathers, patriarchs, farmers, and men, and what they hoped to regain by this rebellion. Notes, ref. (Also published in: Africa Insight, vol. 30, no. 2 (2000), p. 161-175.)