Comparative aspects of farm labour in twentieth century Botswana
PublisherRoutledge (Taylor and Francis) www.routledge.com
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This article focuses mainly on the Tuli block and Ghanzi farming areas because they were and still are the most economically viable. The aim of this article is to draw a comparison between the labour situation in Ghanzi and the Tuli Block farms during the protectorate years, specifically from 1930 to 1966. These two areas lie in two extreme ends of Botswana. The Ghanzi farms lie in the dry highlands of western Botswana, close to Namibia. In the 1930s and early 1940s Ghanzi was a peripheral area, having little contact with the rest of the country and the settler economy being largely subsistence. The Tuli Block is in the valley bushveld of eastern Botswana close to the Transvaal (now Limpopo province).By the 1930s and 1940s, this area had already adopted commercial farming. It is interesting to compare these two areas because while one would expect many similarities under British protection, the contextual variations that existed also created divergences that invite comparisons. Whites (predominantly Afrikaners) from South Africa owned the farms in both areas, but there were different regional variations, different ecological zones and ethnic workforces that make an interesting comparison. These key aspects of the farming areas and their implications will become clear as the study unfolds. Another interesting comparison is between the different ethnicities that provided labour within the Ghanzi farms.