From Civilization to Segregation: Social Ideals and Social Control in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1934

From Civilization to Segregation: Social Ideals and Social Control in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1934

From Civilization to Segregation: Social Ideals and Social Control in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1934

From Civilization to Segregation: Social Ideals and Social Control in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1934

Synopsis

Examines the social changes that took place in Southern Rhodesia after the arrival of the British South Africa Company in the 1890s. Summers focuses on interactions among settlers, the officials of the British South Africa Company, and the administration, missionaries, humanitarian groups in Britain, and the most vocal or noticeable groups of Africans. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Excerpt

Between the invasion of Mashonaland by the British South Africa Company's pioneer column during 1890 and the election of the explicitly segregationist Huggins government in the general elections of 1933, life in Southern Rhodesia changed dramatically as residents struggled, often unsuccessfully, for prosperity. The construction of Southern Rhodesia as a settler colony, though, was more than just an economic or political process. It also involved the construction, management, and deployment of new systems of understanding and knowledge. The administration, settlers, missionaries, and Africans sought to profit from, induce, or control social change in both African society and the dominant European community. To do so, they worked to develop and use images, ideas, and concepts of their neighbors and their environment, of what was unlikely, possible, probable, or inevitable, and then use that knowledge, along with economic, military, political, and other resources, to remold themselves, and other inhabitants of the region into the building blocks of order, development, and change. Southern Rhodesia's society was not built through the attempts of a single coherent group, be it settlers, missionaries, or Africans. Its plans were not drawn by any particular Native Affairs Commission, or imposed through successful governmental interventions. One crisis after another, a stingy administration, and a multiplicity of individuals and interests, built a Southern Rhodesia that had dreams, and nightmares, of unity but a reality of tension and conflict.

Searching for ways to comprehend and control social change, the inhabitants of Southern Rhodesia struggled and experimented. In 1890 the pioneer column of the British South Africa Company marched through Matabeleland, the kingdom in the southwest of present-day Zimbabwe, and occupied the region known as Mashon-

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