Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Term 1 Week 7: Mobility and Migration

This week we will consider practices of mobility and migration in the region. Our analysis will focus on changing patterns of labour migration from the mid-C19th; the impacts of rural-urban migration on family structures and divisions of labour; and the ways in which migration has prompted gendered and generational struggles.

Core Reading

Colin Murray, 'Migrant labour and changing family structure in the rural periphery of Southern Africa', Journal of Southern African Studies, 6, 2 (1980), pp. 139-156.

Patrick Harries, 'Plantations, passes and proletarians: labour and the colonial state in nineteenth century natal', Journal of Southern African Studies, 13, 3 (1987), pp. 372-399.

T. Barnes, ‘The Fight for Control of African Women's Mobility in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1900-1939’, Signs 17 (1992), pp. 586-608.

H. S. Simelane, ‘The State, Chiefs, and the Control of Female Migration in Colonial Swaziland, c. 1930s-1950’, Journal of African History, 45 (2004), pp. 102-25.

Seminar Questions

1. What were the causes and consequences of labour migration in colonial southern Africa?

2. How did migrant labour impact family structures in colonial southern Africa?

3. To what extent did labour migrancy transform gender relations in colonial Southern Africa?

Further Reading

Peter Alexander, 'Oscillating Migrants, "Detribalised Families" and Militancy: Mozambicans on Witbank Collieries, 1918-1927', Journal of Southern African Studies 27, 3 (2010), pp. 505-525.

Teresa Barnes, “To Raise a Hornet’s Nest”: The Effect of Early Resistance to Passes for Women in South Africa on the Pass Laws in Colonial Zimbabwe,” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 5 (1989)

Belinda Bozzoli and Mmantho Nkotsoe, Women of Phokeng: Consciousness, Life Strategy and Migrancy in South Africa, 1900-1983 (1991), Ch.4.

Comaroff, L. J. and J. Comaroff. ‘The Madman and the Migrant: Work and Labor in the Historical Consciousness of a South African People’, American Ethnologist 14 (1987), pp. 191-209.

Coplan, D., In the Time of Cannibals: The Word Music of South Africa's Basotho Migrants (Chicago, 1994).

Crush, J., A. Jeeves and D. Yudelman (eds), South Africa’s Labor Empire. A History of Black Migrancy to the Gold Mines (Boulder, 1991)

Delius, P., L. Phillips and F. Rankin-Smith (eds), A Long Way Home: Migrant Labour World, 1800-2014 (Johannesburg, 2014).

James Ferguson, 'Mobile workers, modernist narratives: a critique of the historiography of transition on the Zambian copperbelt [part one]', in Journal of Southern African Studies 16, 3, (1990), pp. 385-412.

James Ferguson, 'Mobile workers, modernist narratives. a critique of the historiography of transition on the Zambian Copperbelt [part two]', in Journal of Southern African Studies 16, 4, (1990), pp. 603-621.

Guy, J. and M. Thabane, ‘Technology, Ethnicity and Ideology. Basotho Miners and Shaft-sinking on the South African Gold Mines’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 14 (1988), pp. 257-78.

Patrick Harries, Work, Culture, and Identity: Migrant Laborers in Mozambique and South Africa, c. 1860-1910 (1994)

Deborah James, Songs of the Women Migrants: Performance and Identity in South Africa (Edinburgh, 1999).

Colin Murray, Families Divided: The Impact of Migrant Labour in Lesotho (1981).

Elizabeth Schmidt, Peasants, Traders, & Wives: Shona Women in the History of Zimbabwe, 1870-1939 (London, 1992)

G. Wilson, An Essay on the Economics of Detribalization in Northern Rhodesia, 2 vols (1941-1942)