Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Phimister, Ian R en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Maloka, Edward Tshidiso en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-11-10T06:48:22Z
dc.date.available 2016-11-10T06:48:22Z
dc.date.issued 1995 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Maloka, E. 1995. Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22471
dc.description Bibliography: pages 368-396. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract This thesis examines how Lesotho came to depend on the export of its men to South African mines; what the experiences of these men were; and how all this impacted on Basotho society during the years between c.1890 and 1940. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part I focuses on the context and dynamics of labour migration and recruitment in Lesotho during the late 1880s to the late 1930s. This Part lays the basis for subsequent sections by showing which sections of Basotho opted for labour migrancy; and why it was men and not women who, initially at least, became migrants. In discussing the decline of the Basotho economy in the 1920s and 1930s, this section also shows how this was characterised not only by dependence on migrants' earnings, but also by the orientation to and concentration of Basotho labour on the Witwatersrand gold mines. Part II discusses various themes relating to life and conditions on the mines and in the compounds during the period up to c.1940. While specific note is taken of the African miners' death and accident rate, most attention is devoted to the various ways which Basotho miners developed for dealing with the sickness, death and destitution befalling their compatriots in the compounds and on the mines. Conversion to Christianity was an important part of some miners experience, as church forums and the bible could be used for recreational purposes, while literacy classes imparted many with essential skills which could lead to promotion on the mine. But competition for promotion and favours, as well as conflicting survival strategies, often resulted in violent conflict among African miners. Although some scholars have mistakenly attributed such conflict to ethnic factors alone, this thesis argues for an approach which is simultaneously historically and materially grounded. Part III, by using the case of infectious and occupational diseases, and prostitution and commercial beer-brewing, traces and analyses the impact of the migrant labour system on Lesotho. The thesis shows how the spread to Lesotho of such diseases as syphilis and tuberculosis was directly linked to contact with South African towns and mining centres through wage labour. Beer canteens and brothels emerged and flourished in colonial Lesotho not only because of the decline of the country's economy and the breakdown of Basotho social structures, but also because these establishments serviced the migrant labour traffic itself. The significance of this study lies in two areas. Historiographically, this study seeks to contribute to migrant labour studies in Lesotho in particular and Southern Africa in general. Its approach stands between economism which attributes the causes of labour migrancy solely to economic factors, and those paradigms which privilege ideas and culture over material factors. There is a dialectical interplay between material factors and ideas, although the former ultimately determines the latter. Secondly, the significance of this study lies in the fact that many of the issues raised, especially those in Part III, continue to pose serious problems for Basotho people and their government to this day. Knowing something about the origins and history of these problems may contribute to finding lasting solutions. This study, therefore, is about Lesotho, Basotho, and the mines. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Migrant labour - Lesotho. en_ZA
dc.subject.other Sotho (African people) - Social conditions en_ZA
dc.subject.other Gold miners - South Africa - Gauteng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Miners - Lesotho en_ZA
dc.title Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940 en_ZA
dc.type Doctoral 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 Doctoral
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Maloka, E. T. (1995). <i>Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Historical Studies. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22471 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Maloka, Edward Tshidiso. <i>"Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Historical Studies, 1995. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22471 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Maloka ET. Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of Historical Studies, 1995 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22471 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Maloka, Edward Tshidiso AB - This thesis examines how Lesotho came to depend on the export of its men to South African mines; what the experiences of these men were; and how all this impacted on Basotho society during the years between c.1890 and 1940. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part I focuses on the context and dynamics of labour migration and recruitment in Lesotho during the late 1880s to the late 1930s. This Part lays the basis for subsequent sections by showing which sections of Basotho opted for labour migrancy; and why it was men and not women who, initially at least, became migrants. In discussing the decline of the Basotho economy in the 1920s and 1930s, this section also shows how this was characterised not only by dependence on migrants' earnings, but also by the orientation to and concentration of Basotho labour on the Witwatersrand gold mines. Part II discusses various themes relating to life and conditions on the mines and in the compounds during the period up to c.1940. While specific note is taken of the African miners' death and accident rate, most attention is devoted to the various ways which Basotho miners developed for dealing with the sickness, death and destitution befalling their compatriots in the compounds and on the mines. Conversion to Christianity was an important part of some miners experience, as church forums and the bible could be used for recreational purposes, while literacy classes imparted many with essential skills which could lead to promotion on the mine. But competition for promotion and favours, as well as conflicting survival strategies, often resulted in violent conflict among African miners. Although some scholars have mistakenly attributed such conflict to ethnic factors alone, this thesis argues for an approach which is simultaneously historically and materially grounded. Part III, by using the case of infectious and occupational diseases, and prostitution and commercial beer-brewing, traces and analyses the impact of the migrant labour system on Lesotho. The thesis shows how the spread to Lesotho of such diseases as syphilis and tuberculosis was directly linked to contact with South African towns and mining centres through wage labour. Beer canteens and brothels emerged and flourished in colonial Lesotho not only because of the decline of the country's economy and the breakdown of Basotho social structures, but also because these establishments serviced the migrant labour traffic itself. The significance of this study lies in two areas. Historiographically, this study seeks to contribute to migrant labour studies in Lesotho in particular and Southern Africa in general. Its approach stands between economism which attributes the causes of labour migrancy solely to economic factors, and those paradigms which privilege ideas and culture over material factors. There is a dialectical interplay between material factors and ideas, although the former ultimately determines the latter. Secondly, the significance of this study lies in the fact that many of the issues raised, especially those in Part III, continue to pose serious problems for Basotho people and their government to this day. Knowing something about the origins and history of these problems may contribute to finding lasting solutions. This study, therefore, is about Lesotho, Basotho, and the mines. DA - 1995 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 1995 T1 - Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940 TI - Basotho and the mines : towards a history of labour migrancy, c.1890-1940 UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/22471 ER - en_ZA


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