Browsing by Department "Department of Historical Studies"
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- ItemOpen Access100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town(2004) Phillips, HowardObserving institutional birthdays is not something academic historians readily undertake nowadays – their training makes them habitually wary of the constructed nature of such events and of the self-preening which usually accompanies them. All too often such occasions become part of a celebration of an invented tradition of origins, in which founders’ days are ‘seized on with alacrity for displays of pageantry, where, with high-ranking officials ever present, the narrative inevitably extol[s] … supposed progress and virtues’.1 However, commemorating a centenary is perhaps in a different category, for doing so has long roots in Western culture, dating back to the Biblical Jubilee, the Roman Catholic Church’s first Holy Year in 1300 and the veneration of the decimal system by the European Enlightenment. This makes marking a centenary seem quite natural, so easing the discomfort of historians with such an occasion. Moreover, when, as in the case of the centenary of the foundation of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) chair of history in 2003, the original event also signalled the inception of history as a university discipline in its own right in subSaharan Africa, the inducement to commemorate this step is difficult to resist. Added to this, 100 years is a meaningful timespan for reflecting on an institution, being long enough for a degree of historical perspective but short enough to permit the voices of some of the actors to be clearly heard too, perhaps once and – thanks to the tape recorder and video camera – forever. In a centenary year, therefore, both a microscope and telescope can be employed to good effect. It was with such ideas in mind that in 2002 UCT’s Department of Historical Studies contemplated its coming centenary and decided not to let it pass unnoticed.
- ItemOpen AccessA Caledonian college in Cape Town and beyond: An investigation into the foundation(s) of the South African university system(Stellenbosch University, 2003) Phillips, HowardAdopting a historical approach, this article traces the origins of key features of the South African university system, namely the general nature of its undergraduate degrees, its heavy reliance on lectures to convey information and its extensive use of examinations to assess levels of student achievement. This historical investigation finds the roots of these features in the unreformed Scottish university system which was enthusiastically embraced by South Africa's first two teaching universities, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Stellenbosch, in 1918, and which then was adopted by those universities which were set up in their image during the next 70 years. The article suggests that any attempt to reform the country's university system today must take account of the historical circumstances which produced it originally.
- ItemOpen AccessA collection of discrete essays with the common theme of gender and slavery at the Cape of Good Hope with a focus on the 1820s(1993) Van der Spuy, Patricia; Worden, NigelThis is a collection of discrete essays, each embodying original research and bearing on the theme of gender and slavery at the Cape of Good Hope. Amelioration at the Cape profoundly altered gendered perceptions of slaves, both on the part of slaveholders, and of the slaves themselves. The amelioration regulations entailed a redefinition of the gender of female slaves, which was resisted by slaveholders and transformed by slave women, while slave men began to redefine their own gendered identities in this light. Slaveholders' traditional patriarchal self-concepts were severely threatened in this context, as they progressively lost power and authority, both to the new paternalist colonial state and to those who had formerly been subsumed within the patriarchal family. There are five papers, the first an introduction to the theoretical framework of the collection and an outline of the general argument as outlined above. The second paper provides a critique of existing Cape slave historiography from a gendered perspective. It examines the problems of this literature methodologically and theoretically, focusing on the implications of the slave sex ratio for the history of slave women. The final three papers are based on empirical research. The third paper examines the structural constraints on slave family formation in Cape Town from the perspective of slave women. The fourth and fifth papers explore issues related to infanticide and slave reproduction, and slave resistance in relation to the Bokkeveld rebellion of 1825, respectively.
- ItemOpen AccessA commentary on Book 3 of Q. Curtius Rufus' Historiae Alexandri Magni.(1971) Atkinson, J E
- ItemOpen AccessA history of the Kano Book Market, c. 1920-2020(2022) Adam, Sani Yakubu; Mohammed, A RBy borrowing both empirical and conceptual tools from book history, this dissertation documents the history of the Kano Book Market (KBM) in northern Nigeria. Its sources are drawn from archives, private and public records, oral histories, and "printed manuscripts" (religious tracts retaining manuscript features but printed using offset lithographic technique). The dissertation's main thrust is to document how colonial legacies shaped book traditions well into the post-colonial period. Particular emphasis, however, is given to the book market, which encapsulates the other components of the "book cycle." The dissertation argues that the colonial infrastructure and facilities such as the rail lines, the printing presses and the Kano Airport built in 1936 provided the impetus for the emergence of internal and regional Islamic and Hausa book trade. The Islamic book trade, in particular, was pioneered by a section of Muslim scholars mainly based in Kano whose main goal was to publish Arabic books which circulated for centuries in northern Nigeria and other areas of West and Central Africa as part of the local curriculum in Islamic schools. The dissertation explores the dynamics of relations between these publishers and practitioners, such as printers, lithographers, copyists and authors. Most of the extant literature on Arabic printing and book distribution has focused on Arab cities such as Cairo and Beirut as the global centres of Islamic literature while silencing sub-Saharan Africa. To address this gap, the dissertation, by relying on primary records in private and public collections, demonstrates that the KBM, while importing Islamic books from the Arab countries, was a regional entrepot for Islamic book distribution in West and Central Africa, thus serving as a conduit linking Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, Kano played the role of a regional hub for the distribution of the Hausa popular fiction.
- ItemOpen AccessA history of the Transvaal (1853–1864) with a new interpretation of the Transvaal–Zulu relations which culminated in the Zulu War of 1879(1943) Mc Gill, Douglas Clarence; Marais, J S
- ItemOpen AccessA reconstruction of the Cape (South African) fur seal harvest 1653 - 1899 and the comparison with the 20th-century harvest(2008) David, Jeremy; Van Sittert, LanceThe Cape fur seal was an abundant resource in southern Africa, when first discovered by itinerant sailing vessels in the late 16th century. Seals were slaughtered indiscriminately by the sailors for skins, meat and oil for three centuries from around 1600 to 1899. Government controls over the sealing industry were first introduced as late as 1893, by which time at least 23 seal colonies had become extinct and the seal population had been significantly reduced. This paper reconstructs the historical seal harvest from the time of arrival of the first settlers in 1652 up to 1899. These data are then compared with modern harvest data from 1900 to 2000, illustrating the marked increase in the harvest from about 1950, and the concomitant recovery of the seal population to a level of around 1.5-2 million animals.
- ItemOpen AccessA tool for modernisation? The Boer concentration camps of the South African war 1900-1902(2010) Van Heyningen, ElizabethWhile not denying the tragedy of the high mortality of people in the concentration camps in the South African War of 1899–1902, this article suggests that, for Lord Milner and the British Colonial Office, the camps became a means of introducing the rural society of the Boers to the facilities of modern life. To some extent they became, in effect, part of Milner’s project for ‘civilising’ and assimilating the Boers into British colonial society. The high mortality rate was finally contained through the introduction of a modern public health system, including the use of statistics and the employment of qualified doctors and nurses. Young Boer women working in the camp hospitals as nurse aids were trained as ‘probationers’ and classes in infant and child care were offered to the Boer mothers. In addition, the need for adequate water supplies and effective sanitation meant that an infrastructure was established in the camps that familiarised the Boers with modern sanitary routines and left a legacy of more substantial services for the Transvaal and Orange Free State villages.
- ItemOpen AccessThe administration of Cecil John Rhodes as prime minister of the Cape Colony, 1890-1896(1951) Jenkins, Stanley JohnIn his monograph, Sir Thomas Fuller divides Rhodes's public policy under three heads - the expansion of the Cape Colony; the federation, or, as it was frequently called, the union of South African States; and the Government of the Cape Colony itself when he became its Premier. Any such divisions are of course merely arbitrary, and merely made for the sake of convenience, for it is obvious that these aspects of his policy were closely inter-related, and, in fact, inter-dependent. For this reason, it is all the more to be regretted that in the Imperialistic fervour which hallows the memory of Rhodes abodes the Empire-builder, or at the other extreme, in the severe condemnation of the Rhodes of the Jameson Raid, the significance of his work as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony is under-estimated or over- looked altogether. The Colony provided the base for his operations in the wider field of South African politics. Without its support, there could have been no Northern development, and in his scheme of South African unity, he believed it the Colony's destiny to play the leading role. Thus during his Premiership, the Franchise changes were introduced as a step towards a common South African Native policy; the Glen Grey Bill was a "Native Bill for Africa"; in regard to railways and customs, the ultimate aim was amalgamation and free trade in South African products as a prelude to political unity. Above all, it was a period of close co-operation between the two sections of the European population in the Colony itself, and it is this aspect of Rhodes's administration with which this thesis is primarily concerned. It has also been necessary to deal at some length with his earlier activities to show how this co-operation became possible, and to trace its effect upon the general trend of his policy after 1890.
- ItemOpen AccessThe administration of Dr. Jameson as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony (1904-8)(1950) Cuthbert, Patricia
- ItemOpen AccessThe admission of slaves and 'prize slaves' into the Cape Colony, 1797-1818(1997) Reidy, Michael Charles; Worden, NigelThis study supports the thesis that slaves were admitted into the Cape colony by the Cape colonial government, even though the government was opposed to slave importation in principle and law (Slave Trade Act, 1807) from 1797-1818. The colonial demand for slaves was at its height after the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie's (VOC) capitulation to the British in 1795. This demand forced the first British occupation government to forgo their anti-slave trade principles and accede to a limited importation of slaves into the colony.
- ItemOpen AccessAdriaan van Jaarsveld : veldkommandant en leier van rebellie (1770-1800)(1942) De Villiers, Jacob I
- ItemOpen AccessAfrican perceptions of the missionaries and their message : Wesleyans at Mount Coke and Butterworth, 1825-35(1991) Fast, Hildegarde Helene; Le Cordeur, B AMissionary endeavours in the Eastern Cape were characterized by African resistance to the Christian Gospel during the first half of the nineteenth century. Current explanations for this rejection point to the opposition of the chiefs, the association that the listeners made between the missionaries and their white oppressors, and the threat to communal solidarity. This thesis aims to see if these explanations fully reveal the reasons for Xhosa resistance to Christianity by examining African perceptions of the missionaries and their message at the Wesleyan mission stations of Mount Coke and Butterworth for the period 1825-35. The research is based upon the Wesleyan Missionary Society correspondence and missionary journals and is corroborated and supplemented by travellers' records and later studies in African religion and social anthropology. The economic, social, and religious background of the Wesleyans is described to show how the Christian message was limited to their culture and system of thought. Concepts of divinity, morality, and the afterlife are compared to demonstrate the vast differences between Wesleyan and African worldviews and the inability of the missionaries to overcome these obstacles and to show the relevance of Christianity to African material and spiritual needs. Various types of perceptions are surveyed to show that, though the missionaries were respected for their spiritual role, their character and lifestyle presented an unappealing model of the Christian life. The threat that the missionary message posed to the structure and functioning of African communities is examined as well as African perceptions of these implications. A theory of conversion is advanced which reveals a consistent pattern of association with the missionaries for reasons of self-interest, exposure to the Gospel over a lengthy period of time, and finally conversion. The missionary-African contact of this period is thus characterized as the encounter between two systems of thought which did not engage.
- ItemOpen AccessAfricans in Cape Town : state policy and popular resistance, 1936-73(1993) Kinkead-Weekes, Barry HThis local history focusses on Cape Town's black African population, the development 'Native' (later 'Bantu') policy, as well as the escalating organised resistance which arose in response. The study relies as far as possible on archival sources to disaggregate these themes. On this basis, it provides a detailed analysis of the evolution of policy with regard to influx control, squatter control and residential segregation in the local context. Escalating resistance is discussed in a similarly-nuanced focussing particularly on mounting tensions between the pragmatic 'united frontists' of the Communist Party and the progressive wing of the local ANC, and 'principled' political opponents to the left and the right. Considerable continuity in 'Native Policy' is revealed over what used to be seen as the great divide of 1948, when segregation was supposed suddenly to have given way to something qualitatively different named apartheid. The regionally-specific policy of 'Coloured Labour Preference' is shown to have been, in practice, nothing but empty rhetoric employed in a failed attempt to justify a cruel policy aimed at safeguarding the racial exclusivity of the franchise, while at the same time providing cheap and tractable labour. The thesis calls into question a common assumption that class-concepts best explain changing patterns of resistance in the urban areas of South Africa. Ideological and strategic tensions, irreducible to class-differences are shown to have played a significant role in retarding the struggle for national liberation.
- ItemOpen AccessAfter Race and Class: Recent Trends in the Historiography of Early Colonial Cape Society(2010) Worden, NigelThis article reviews the recent upsurge of writing on the history of the early colonial Cape Colony from the VOC period to the early nineteenth century. It responds to important questions raised by Nicole Ulrich's review article of Contingent Lives in this issue. In particular it considers what is gained and what can be lost in the recent shift from class-based analyses characteristic of late twentieth-century revisionist South African historiography to research more influenced by the ‘cultural turn’, transnational and microhistorical approaches.
- ItemOpen AccessAgricultural crisis and rural organisation in the Cape : 1929-1933(1985) Hofmeyr, William Andrew; Kaplan, DavidThis thesis explores the relationship between rural struggles and popular organisation in the Cape between 1928 and 1933. It focuses on the attempts by militants in the ANC(Western Province) and later the Independent ANC to organise in the rural areas during a period of crisis for agriculture. In the first chapter the history and trends in the nationalist movement before 1930 is discussed. It is argued that the conservative petty bourgeoisie dominated the organisation for much of the time, but that more militant positions were adopted on a few rare occasions. The second chapter endeavours to show that the transition to capitalist agriculture had been completed in the Western Cape. ·It then examines the specificity of the crisis in agriculture during the Depression: a crisis which was manifested in the form of an acute labour shortage on the farms, combined with unemployment in the towns. This, it is argued, provided a fertile ground for organisation The third chapter examines the rural struggles in the Western Cape. It analyses the alliance in the ANC(WP) between the moderate Garveyists and the militants linked to the Communist Party, and the reasons for the subsequent breakdown of this alliance. It discusses both the success of the organisation in coping with violent repression, and its failure to cope with the state's more subtle strategies. The militants were eventually expelled from the ANC. Most rural branches then broke away to form the Independent ANC. Chapter 4 discusses the formation of the IANC and raises some questions about the nature of its political programme. It then proceeds to focus on organisation in the Southern Cape where all the branches had joined the IANC. The fifth chapter discusses the organisation in the Midlands area of the Eastern Cape. It attempts to explain the lack of success in Graaff-Reinett. It then proceeds to examine the organisation in Middelburg where is appears that it had learnt to cope with at least some of the problems experienced in the Western Cape. The sixth chapter analyses in some detail the issues that were taken up by the IANC in the Midlands, and how these were reflected in its discourse. Among the issues raised are unemployment, resistance to passes and local control measures, the problem of women's participation and the struggle that was waged against the conservative petty bourgeoisie in the ANC. The seventh chapter first discusses organisation in Cradock. It then proceeds to describe how the struggle in the Midlands built up to a climax at the end of 1931, until massive repression smashed the organisation. Thereafter the organisation continued only at a low level. The conclusion attempts to draw together some of the themes raised above. First, it discusses the relationship between the petty bourgeoisie and the militants. Second, it argues that the organisation's approach was essentially "agitational", and that this accounts partly for its effectiveness, as well as many of its weaknesses. Lastly an attempt is made to evaluate the significance of the organisation.
- ItemOpen AccessAgriculture, farm labour and the state in the Natal Midlands, 1940-1960(1991) Mazower, Benjamin Louis; Bradford, HelenThis thesis analyses agrarian development in the Natal Midlands during the 1940s and 1950s. Based predominantly on archival and primary sources, it seeks to provide some empirical evidence in an area where such information is sorely lacking. The first chapter briefly analyses the national agricultural economy in the 1940s before turning to the Natal Midlands. The importance of urban factors in fuelling the post-war boom is examined, as is the way in which different groups of farmers reacted to these developments. The second chapter discusses the position of farm workers. The system of labour tenancy is considered and stress is laid on the various tensions within the system which became prominent at this time. The use of the courts and the police in helping farmers control their workers, informal methods of control and labourers' resistance are also examined. The next chapter discusses the severe farm labour shortage and shows how it emerged from the tensions within labour tenancy and the increasing urban opportunities seized by farm workers. Attention is also paid to the farm labour policies of the pre-apartheid state and these are compared with the policies demanded by organised agriculture. The final chapter examines these processes during the 1950s. The effect of the slowdown in agricultural growth is discussed as is the limited success of the apartheid state's farm labour policies. It is suggested that the key to understanding the state's lack of success lies in differentiating between different categories of farmers. The agricultural crisis in the late 1950s and its effects are also analysed. Finally, it is suggested that the key determinants of agrarian development are accumulation and struggle rather than state policies.
- ItemOpen AccessAjami Literacy, class, and Portuguese pre-colonial administration in Northern Mozambique(2014) Mutiua,Chapane; Jeppie, ShamilThis thesis, based on archival and fieldwork research, provides an historical analysis of the northern Mozambique ajami manuscripts held in the Mozambique Historical Archives (AHM). The main focus is on the role played by ajami literacy in the creation of a local Muslim intellectual class that played a significant role in the establishment of a Portuguese pre-colonial administration in northern Mozambique. The history of Islam in northern Mozambique is viewed as a constant struggle against the Portuguese establishment in the region. Through an examination of ajami correspondence held in the AHM and focusing on two of the main northern Mozambique Swahili centres of the nineteenth century (Quissanga and Sancul), this thesis offers a more nuanced interpretation of the relations between the Portuguese and the Swahili Muslim rulers of the region. On the one hand, it views Quissanga-Ibo Island relations based on systematic and relatively loyal collaboration expressed in more than two hundred letters found in the collection of AHM. On the other hand, it presents Sancul-Mozambique Island relations based on ambiguous collaboration and constant betrayals, expressed in forty letters of the collection. The AHM ajami manuscripts collection numbers a total of 665 letters which were first revealed in the context of the pilot study of northern Mozambique Arabic Manuscripts, held in the Mozambique Historical Archives, under the leadership of Professors Liazzat Bonate and Joel Tembe. The pilot study ended with the selection, translation and transliteration of sixty letters from this collection. For the present study I have read, summarized and translated the whole collection (excluding the 60 letters mentioned above). However, only 266 letters which are more relevant for the analysis and argument of my thesis, I have listed in the appendix of this dissertation; and nine of them I have closely examined and cited as the main sources for the construction of local history and as documentary witness of the historical facts I discuss. The use of ajami literacy in northern Mozambique is analysed in the context of global and regional phenomena. In this sense, it is viewed as a result of a longue duré process which integrated the region into the western Indian Ocean’s cultural, political and economic dynamics. It is argued that the spread of ajami literacy in the region was framed in the context of regional Islamic education and an intellectual network. Both were also part of the process of expansion of Islam in East Africa. xiQuissanga (in Cabo Delgado) and Sancul (in Nampula) represent the two main regional settlements from which most of the manuscripts originated. The ruling elites of both regions represent suitable examples of the integration of northern Mozambique into the Swahili political, economic and intellectual networks. They also offer examples of two different dynamics of the process of integration of northern Mozambique rulers into the Portuguese pre-colonial administration. Through an analysis of the spread of Islamic education and the use of Arabic script in the above-mentioned region, this thesis sought to establish the connection of coastal societies in northern Mozambique to the Swahili world (most specifically to Comoros Islands, Zanzibar and western Madagascar). It was through this connection that the Muslim intellectual class was created in northern Mozambique and played an important intermediary role in the process of the establishment of the Portuguese administration in the second half of the nineteenth century. Through their correspondence and reports, this local intellectual elite produced a body of manuscripts in Kiswahili and other local languages (in the Arabic script), which are now an important source for the history of the region.