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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:In search of green pastures: labour migration from Colonial Malawi, 1939-1960
Author:Mitchell, Henry
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:labour migration
migrant workers
social networks
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/23611970
Abstract:Male labour migration in many ways defined Malawi's social and economic history in the 20th century. Whilst the often harsh experiences of living and working abroad in colonial southern Africa have been well documented, the narratives of Malawians leaving home, travelling by road, rail or air, endeavouring to achieve long term life goals, and defining themselves in terms of wealth, masculinity, social status, and nationality, have not received a lot of attention. Reappraising the existing literature on Malawian emigration using records from the Nyasaland Labour Department and the accounts of individual migrants retold by their descendants, the article focuses in particular on three arguments. Firstly, that the pattern of emigration was complex and highly differentiated across Malawi's districts; secondly, that Malawian emigrants often operated entirely beyond the European colonial and commercial spheres, utilising African networks, services, and social practices; and finally that the implications of travelling, living, and working abroad on the development of a Malawian national consciousness were inconsistent and unpredictable. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]