Tswana Men Trying to Stop Women

  • Camilla May Cockerton


The twentieth-century history of Tswana women’s labour migration cannot be reduced to the effects of a simple environmental squeeze. To make sense of the complex and variable character of this movement, it is necessary also to consider the internal controls and sanctions on women’s mobility. While female migrants exercised some choice over whether they would fall into the traditional role of mosadi, or evade male mechanisms of control through migration, their autonomy was strictly circumscribed, at least initially. Migration posed a significant threat to those who exercised those controls. As a result, various groups of men, including Tswana dikgosi, elders, husbands, British administrators, and even missionaries, opposed women’s migration. They did so for different reasons and the discourses that crystallised around women’s migration were therefore diverse and complex. This chapter explores how Tswana patriarchs initially attempted to control female migrancy.


Labour migration Controlling Internal controls Physical violence Sanctions Women’s mobility “Running away” Immorality Tradition Education Evade Migration 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camilla May Cockerton
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherWellingtonNew Zealand

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