Proletarianisation in Swaziland : the case of the sugar industry
This study is an attempt to analyse the process of proletarianisation in Swazi society with particular reference to the sugar industry in that country. We have also tried to explain why women's labour tends to be located in both subsistence and commodity agriculture, and what the implications of this are for the social, economic and political status of women in Swazi society. Through an analysis of the historical processes which led to colonisation and the consequent land alienation, labour migration, taxation and exploitation of the Swazi people, the study has tried to show the socio-economic and political consequences of capitalist development within Swaziland over the last century. We have also discussed the emergence and decline of white settler agriculture and shown how, together with the collaboration of the colonial state, white commodity agriculture laid the basis for the development of agribusiness in the economy, especially in relation to the sugar industry. Within the sugar industry itself, which has dominated the Swazi economy for the last thirty years in terms of land use, numbers of workers employed, and the size of national revenue generated, there is an ongoing struggle between labour and capital, which manifests itself in various forms, both overt and covert. The history of working class resistance in the industry vis-a-vis capital and the colonial and neo-colonial state, is discussed with a view to better understanding this section of the Swazi proletariat in anticipation of the revolutionary changes which are sweeping across the Southern African sub-continent.