Black and White in Southern Zambia: The Tonga Plateau Economy and British Imperialism, 1890-1939

By Kenneth P. Vickery | Go to book overview

in Tonga culture, technological change, the nature of the imperial presence--make for a more convincing explanation of this phenomenon, as I shall show in analyzing the economic history of the Plateau in the imperial era.


CONCLUSION

I have described in this chapter a pre-capitalist mode of production in a period of considerable stress. The dominant domestic communities on the Tonga Plateau were examples of what Goran Hyden calls "economies of affection" where "affective ties based on common descent, common residence, etc." prevail, rather than market and/or class relationships. 70 The fundamental economic and social units--household, village, neighborhood--were small-scale. There existed a subsistence orientation, not because surpluses were unknown (under proper conditions, they certainly were known), but because communities and individuals aimed more at long-term survival and reproduction than at short- term maximization. The relative insecurity of the late nineteenth century meant that these goals were sometimes problematic.

In its culture and political economy, the Plateau occupied a border area between central and southern Bantu "complexes." The Plateau Tonga were matrilineal, like many peoples of the central African savanna, but unlike them were devoted cattle keepers; cattle keepers, yet far less centralized and hierarchical than most cattle-oriented peoples to the south, such as the Mpondo described by William Beinart. Indeed, I would emphasize again the egalitarian nature of Tonga society, and the centrifugal forces operating within it, to which matriliny certainly contributed. This should not be confused with homogeneity. Indeed Tonga culture provided unusually wide scope for individuals to achieve relative wealth and status, but simultaneously placed many demands on such figures and insured that their status would be transitory. Division between classes, or between royals and commoners, has no application to the Tonga; division between leader and follower and even between male and female was comparatively limited.


NOTES
1.
See M. R. Dixon-Fyle, "'Mild Batonga' Re-Considered: A Note on Tonga Responses to Certain Aspects of Colonial Policy, 1899-1940," Africa Research Bulletin 7, 3 ( 1977): 27-51.
2.
R. Oliver and B. Fagan, Africa in the Iron Age ( Cambridge, Eng., 1975), pp. 99-101; R. Derricourt, "The Iron Age Prehistory of Southern Province: A Review of Recent Work," in I. Elgie, ed. Handbook to the Southern Province 1975, Zambia Geographical Association Handbook Series No. 4 ( Lusaka, 1978) M. 67-80; A. Roberts, A History of Zambia ( London, 1976), pp. 48-55. Fagan's pioneering work is contained in B. Fagan, Iron Age Cultures in Zambia, vols. 1 and 2 ( London, 1967, 1969).

-29-

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Black and White in Southern Zambia: The Tonga Plateau Economy and British Imperialism, 1890-1939
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • RECENT TITLES IN CONTRIBUTIONS IN COMPARATIVE COLONIAL STUDIES ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Notes and Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Plateau in the Late Nineteenth Century 13
  • Notes 29
  • 2 - The Imperial Economy in South Central Africa, 1890-1925: An Overview 35
  • Conclusion 48
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Contact and Conquest, 1890-1904 53
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - A Colonial Situation, 1904-1918 71
  • Conclusion 112
  • Notes 113
  • 5 - Boom and Bust, 1918-1925 121
  • Notes 140
  • 6 - Transformation of the Indigenous Economy: The Emergence of a Peasantry 145
  • Notes 177
  • 7 - Peasants, Settlers, and State in the Copperbelt Era, 1925-1939 185
  • Conclusion 210
  • Conclusion 211
  • 8 - Epilogue and Conclusion 215
  • Notes 228
  • Bibliography 231
  • Index 245
  • About the Author 249
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