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

By Kenneth P. Vickery | Go to book overview

1917, the African cattle market quickly boomed, and over 2,000 oxen were bought over the next five months. Native Commissioner H. G. Willis said "competition in the cattle trade has been keen, and natives are asking and obtaining higher prices than ever before."184 At an indaba in early 1918, however, Sialiondo, speaking for Chief Mwanacingwala, complained directly to visiting commissioner H. C. Marshall of low prices offered by white traders. 185 Other Tonga objected to rising prices for consumer goods. The war had caused some scarcity of such goods, and higher prices (especially for clothing) were noticeable at least as early as mid-1916. 186 Willis observed in early 1918 that despite the many cattle being traded in Magoye, the trade in imported goods had lagged behind: "owners of stores are of the opinion that the natives are hoarding their money, and that the increased prices in Kaffir goods had kept them from spending." 187


CONCLUSION

The years 1904 to 1918 mark the real arrival of the imperial economy on the Tonga Plateau. In Hopkins' terminology for West Africa, the Plateau's economy had been "opened," and henceforth would be increasingly affected by trends and circumstances originating far beyond the Plateau itself. 188 The imposition of taxation and labor coercion backed by the colonial state greatly curtailed the possibility of Tonga non-participation in the imperial economy. Labor migration southward reached an all-time high. But more dramatic change on the Plateau itself was represented by the development of the railway strip, which created an enclave of European-dominated economic activity on what had been Tonga land. The railway and the Katanga market stimulated agricultural commodity production not only by Europeans, however, but by Tonga as well.

Meanwhile, Tonga domestic communities were in fact rebuilding their indigenous economy after the difficulties of the previous few decades, a process detailed in Chapter 6. The option of produce sales prevented the Tonga, unlike the Mpondo described by Beinart, from being "locked in" to l0abor migration even while this rebuilding took place. 189 Furthermore, as the complaints about prices and hoarding of money just mentioned suggest, the Tonga were increasingly sensitive to the terms on which they participated in the imperial economy. Perhaps an Anglican missionary at Mapanza put it best. The Tonga "have learned somewhere," he wrote with apparent irritation, "to expect payment for everything." 190

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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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