Labour and politics in Northern Rhodesia, 1900-1953: a study in the limits of colonial power
The thesis examines the politics of labour in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) from the establishment of the British presence in 1900 to the beginning of the Central African Federation in 1953. It is argued that the power of governments to control or direct labour migration or the conditions of labour was severely limited. The British South Africa Company (which administered the territory from 1900 to 192-1) lacked the administrative resources to do more than tax the territory, and the laxity of early Administrators allowed the criminal conduct of some district officials to go unpunished. The introduction of labour migration and the cash economy to the rural areas set off a chain of social changes which the Northern Rhodesia Government (1924-1934) was similarly unable to control. Any attempt to change the territory's status as a labour reservoir for the South, or to improve African opportunities, met opposition from the entrenched local Europeans, who monopolised routine posts in the civil service and skilled jobs in the copper mines and on the railways. The articulation of African grievances is closely examined in the Copperbelt Strikes of 1935 and 1940, together with the pressures which resulted in the formation of African trade unions from 1947. The growing industrial power of Africans led to hurried concessions in the 1050's, though relations between African workers, their leaders, and the government remained complex, and posed development problems for the independent Republic of Zambia.