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Title: Land, settlement and narratives of history in northern Bushbuckridge, c. 1890-1970
Author: Cockfield, James Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 1082
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines the history of African settlement in northern Bushbuckridge, South Africa. It reveals the ways in which the sprawling low-density villages around Acornhoek were made between 1890 and 1970. Drawing on extensive archival evidence, published secondary sources and over 100 oral history interviews, it makes original contributions to two distinct but related bodies of literature. Firstly, and primarily, it contributes to histories of rural South Africa by providing a detailed local history of African rent tenant communities settled on private white-owned (and to a lesser extent government owned) farms in a region at the margins of state control, and on the fringes of southern Africa’s major historical kingdoms. This account of the slow dispossession of communities in a liminal space, predominantly settled under conditions of rent tenure and outside the control of large chieftaincies, modifies an existing historiography that has often focussed on sharecropping regions or areas that have been historically under the control of large chieftaincies. Furthermore, this is the first study to examine the impact of the 1913 Natives Land Act and the 1936 Native Trust and Land Act in considerable detail at the local level, and in doing so I shed new light on the operations of two landmark legislative measures in the history of rural South Africa. Secondly, I make an important contribution to the increasing scholarship on land reform and historical narrative, much of which lacks detailed historical analysis. In analysing contemporary narratives of history, which are dominated by first-comer claims to land, I set up a dialogue between the past and the present and demonstrate how the history of settlement and removal in an ethnically heterogeneous region informs contemporary narratives of history.
Supervisor: Beinart, William Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available