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Title: The impact of the Second World War on Southern Rhodesia : with reference to African labour, 1939-1948
Author: Johnson, David
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1989
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Abstract:
This thesis examines the second world war as a watershed in the socio-economic development of Southern Rhodesia. It begins with an analysis of the specific contributions of the settler colony to the imperial war effort - e. g., the Empire Air Training Scheme and the Rhodesian African Rifles, which are discussed in chapters one and two. The next chapter focuses on changes in the major sectors of the economy - mining, agriculture and manufacturing. It examines settler responses to the increased internal and external demand for agricultural produce; the growth of a manufacturing sector induced by wartime import restrictions and the expansion of the internal market; and the role of the state in these developments. The last four chapters concentrate on the experience of Africans in the rural areas and the expanding. urban centres. It is argued that, under the guise of support for the war effort, undercapitalized settler producers - who were unable to attract an adequate supply of labour through a dependence on market forces - used their political influence to pressure the government into coercing Africans into wage employment. Wartime coercion helped to resolve some of the historic problems of 'labour shortages' by accelerating the process of "proletarianization" of the African peasantry in Southern Rhodesia. Some of those who fled the compulsory labour gang recruiters found voluntary employment in the cities or the Union of South Africa, where wages were much higher. The influx of workers into the cities - centres of increased economic activity during the war - caused a strain on urban resources such as housing. This, combined with wartime inflation and undemocratic labour legislation, helped to produce deteriorating conditions of work and life for the majority of urban labourers. Africans were not passive in face of these events and, like workers elsewhere on the continent, they sought to redress their grievances through spontaneous and organized action in the immediate post-war years, the most notable episodes being the 1945 rail strike and the 1948 general strike
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.544003  DOI: Not available
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