Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Term 1 Week 4: Mining and Masculinity

This week we will examine the development and workings of mining economies in South Africa and Zimbabwe. These areas became centres of industrialisation, urbanisation and economic development from the late nineteenth century, drawing in labour, migrants and capital from across the region and the world. Our analysis will focus on working and living conditions for miners; the racialisation of the labour process; and constructions of masculinity.

Core Reading

Robert Morrell, 'Of boys and men: masculinity and gender in Southern African studies', Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (1998), pp. 605-630.

Charles Van Onselen, Chibaro: African Mine Labour in Southern Rhodesia, 1900-1933 (1980 edition), chapters 1 and 2, pp. 11-63. Ebook

T. Dunbar Moodie (with Vivien Ndatshe and British Sibuye), 'Migrancy and male sexuality on the South African gold mines', Journal of Southern African Studies, 14 (1988), pp. 228-256.

K. Breckenridge, ‘The Allure of Violence. Men, Race and Masculinity on the South African Gold Mines, 1900-1950’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (1998), pp. 669-93.

Seminar Questions

1. How did race, gender and class shape the lives of mineworkers in Zimbabwe and South Africa?

2. How did violence structure relationships on the mines?

3. How far did living and working conditions vary between mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe?

4. How useful is masculinity as a category of analysis in southern African history?

Primary Sources

Peter Abrahams, Mine Boy (1946). E-book available via the library

Time magazine photo essay on South Africa in 1950 (includes various photographs of mineworkers).

Dying for Gold (2018) - trailer, Justice for Miners Campaign and further reading (including primary and secondary sources)

Further Reading

Keith Breckenridge, 'Migrancy, Crime and Faction Fighting: the role of the Isitshozi in the development of ethnic organisations in the compounds', Journal of Southern African Studies, 16 (1990), pp. 55-78.

Christopher Clark, ''There's a lot of money down there': the deadly cities of gold beneath Johannesburg', The Guardian, 24 October 2019.

Donald Donham, Violence in a Time of Liberation: Murder and Ethnicity at a South African Gold Mine, 1994 (2011) [Available on Google books, also check the library]

James Ferguson, Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt (1999).

Duncan Innes, Anglo American and the Rise of Modern South Africa (London, 1984).

Gary Kynoch, We Are Fighting the World: A History of the Marashea Gangs in South Africa, 1947–1999 (2005). [Available on Google books, also check the library]

Miles Larmer, Mineworkers in Zambia: Labour and Political Change in Post-Colonial Africa (2006).

Miles Larmer and Alistair Fraser (eds), Zambia, Mining, and Neoliberalism: Boom and Bust on the Globalized Copperbelt (2010).

L. A. Lindsay and S. F. Miescher (eds), Men and Masculinities in Modern Africa (Portsmouth NH, 2003).

Shula Marks and Richard Rathbone (eds), Industrialisation and Social Change in South Africa: African class formation, culture, and consciousness, 1870-1930 (London, 1982).

T. Dunbar Moodie, 'The Moral Economy of the Black Miners’ Strike of 1946', Journal of Southern African Studies, 13 (1986), 1-35.

T. Dunbar Moodie and V. Ndatshe, Going for Gold: Men, Mines and Migration (Berkeley, 1994).

T. Dunbar Moodie, 'Mobilization on the South African Gold Mines', in David Meyer, Nancy Whittier and Belinda Robnett (eds), Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State (Oxford University Press, 2002).

T. Dunbar Moodie, 'Maximum Average Violence: Underground Assaults on the South African Gold Mines, 1913-1965', Journal of Southern African Studies, 31, September 2005.

Charles Van Onselen, 'The world the mine owners made: social themes and economic transformations of the Witswatersrand, 1886-1914', in idem, Studies in the Social and Economic History of the Witwatersrand, 1886-1914, Vol. 1: New Babylon (1982), pp. 1-23.

Charles van Onselen, 'Worker consciousness in black miners: Southern Rhodesia, 1900–1920', The Journal of African History, 14, 2 (1973), pp. 237-255.

F. Wilson, Labour in the South African Gold Mines 1911-1969 (Cambridge, 1972).