Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Adhikari, Mohamed en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Lawrence, Paul Gilbert en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-08-24T12:58:13Z
dc.date.available 2016-08-24T12:58:13Z
dc.date.issued 1994 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Lawrence, P. 1994. Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21506
dc.description Bibliography: pages 168-176. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The discovery of diamonds in the Kimberley area was to have far reaching consequences, not only for the region but the entire sub-continent. In addition to the hundreds of individual diggers, mainly white, who converged on this arid corner of southern Africa, there appeared also, in a remarkably short time, a complete infrastructure of urban facilities to serve their needs. Perhaps the most unique component of the otherwise colonial population was the massive influx of migrant Africans in response to the insatiable labour demands of the diamond mines. We examine the interplay of racial attitudes and conflicts and the ambiguous position of the black elites in the diverse groups of 'colonial' or 'civilised' Africans, 'Cape Coloureds', Muslims and Indians who came to Kimberley to seek their fortune. It is our contention that it was this ambiguity which was to provide a spur to black political activity. We closely consult contemporary accounts, official documentation and local newspapers, all of which faithfully record the ebb and flow of the state of racial relations. Never a typical microcosm of colonial urban society because of the extraneous factor of economic competition for limited employment and resources, social relationships in Kimberley gradually changed until the essential confrontation was not between colonials and the rest, but rather more specifically between blacks and whites. While the early history of Kimberley was marked by the virulent racism of white· diggers resisting black competition, the ensuing years were to witness a more tranquil period of racial co-existence. This tranquillity proved to be only the calm before the storm. We show how a series of crises strained relations between blacks and whites to breaking point. The failed rebellion by indigenous blacks, the smallpox epidemic during which the Muslim community incurred the wrath of white public opinion by failing to adopt western preventative measures, a revolt - the Black Flag Revolt- by militant white diggers and the effects of the new recruitment policies of the mining companies in the 1880s, which opened jobs to cheap black workers, all resulted in an increasing polarisation of race relations in Kimberley. We argue that where before official documents and newspapers had shown a class discrimination directed against migrant African labourers, this changed over time to become a negative portrayal of blacks in general. The effect of the emergence of this negative stereotype was to separate whites and blacks in many facets of life in the mining centre. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Diamond mines and mining - South Africa - Kimberley en_ZA
dc.subject.other Blacks - South Africa - Kimberley - Political activity en_ZA
dc.subject.other Apartheid - South Africa - Kimberley en_ZA
dc.subject.other Diamond miners - South Africa - Kimberley - History en_ZA
dc.title Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893 en_ZA
dc.type Master Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Historical Studies en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Lawrence, P. G. (1994). <i>Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Historical Studies. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21506 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Lawrence, Paul Gilbert. <i>"Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Historical Studies, 1994. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21506 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Lawrence PG. Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Historical Studies, 1994 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21506 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Lawrence, Paul Gilbert AB - The discovery of diamonds in the Kimberley area was to have far reaching consequences, not only for the region but the entire sub-continent. In addition to the hundreds of individual diggers, mainly white, who converged on this arid corner of southern Africa, there appeared also, in a remarkably short time, a complete infrastructure of urban facilities to serve their needs. Perhaps the most unique component of the otherwise colonial population was the massive influx of migrant Africans in response to the insatiable labour demands of the diamond mines. We examine the interplay of racial attitudes and conflicts and the ambiguous position of the black elites in the diverse groups of 'colonial' or 'civilised' Africans, 'Cape Coloureds', Muslims and Indians who came to Kimberley to seek their fortune. It is our contention that it was this ambiguity which was to provide a spur to black political activity. We closely consult contemporary accounts, official documentation and local newspapers, all of which faithfully record the ebb and flow of the state of racial relations. Never a typical microcosm of colonial urban society because of the extraneous factor of economic competition for limited employment and resources, social relationships in Kimberley gradually changed until the essential confrontation was not between colonials and the rest, but rather more specifically between blacks and whites. While the early history of Kimberley was marked by the virulent racism of white· diggers resisting black competition, the ensuing years were to witness a more tranquil period of racial co-existence. This tranquillity proved to be only the calm before the storm. We show how a series of crises strained relations between blacks and whites to breaking point. The failed rebellion by indigenous blacks, the smallpox epidemic during which the Muslim community incurred the wrath of white public opinion by failing to adopt western preventative measures, a revolt - the Black Flag Revolt- by militant white diggers and the effects of the new recruitment policies of the mining companies in the 1880s, which opened jobs to cheap black workers, all resulted in an increasing polarisation of race relations in Kimberley. We argue that where before official documents and newspapers had shown a class discrimination directed against migrant African labourers, this changed over time to become a negative portrayal of blacks in general. The effect of the emergence of this negative stereotype was to separate whites and blacks in many facets of life in the mining centre. DA - 1994 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 1994 T1 - Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893 TI - Class, colour consciousness and the search for identity : blacks at the Kimberley diamond diggings, 1867-1893 UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21506 ER - en_ZA


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