Farmer-Miner Contestations and the British South Africa Company in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1895-1923

Farmer-Miner Contestations and the British South Africa Company in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1895-1923

Author: 
Madimu, Tapiwa
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2018
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Msindo, Enocent, jt. author
Swart, Sandra, jt. author
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 44, No. 5, 2018, pp. 793-814
Abstract: 

This article explores the interaction of settler farmers, miners, and the state in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1895 to 1923. The governing authority, the British South Africa Company (BSAC), was a private commercial mining entity, which sought to maximise its earnings through mining, particularly gold extraction. Its mining bias set the stage for subsequent friction between the country’s miners and the fledgling settler farming sector over the control of labour, land, wood and water resources in the new state. The end of BSAC rule in 1923 and its replacement with settler government has often been explained in economic terms, as an indication that farming had become more economically important to the state than mining. This article suggests, rather, that mining interests continued to be economically powerful, even when political power shifted towards the farmers. We show that the farmers’ struggle (post-1910) for recognition, for fairer resource allocation and other rights, especially through the 1912 tax strikes and other political actions, set in place developments that eventually led to the end of Company rule in 1923. However, although this farmer-led activism transformed the political landscape, the politically combustible issue of miners’ privileged access to resources in the Great Dyke (where Gold Belt Titles were mainly tenable) remained unresolved until 1961, when the Mines Ordinance was finally amended to give farmers some share of the environmental resources with miners on farms in the Gold Belt areas.

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CITATION: Madimu, Tapiwa. Farmer-Miner Contestations and the British South Africa Company in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1895-1923 . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2018. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 44, No. 5, 2018, pp. 793-814 - Available at: http://library.au.int/farmer-miner-contestations-and-british-south-africa-company-colonial-zimbabwe-1895-1923