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Black Workers on the Railways

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Abstract

The railways were the largest single private employer of black labour in the Rhodesias before 1947. The official figures show that black employment on the railways reached a maximum of about 18,000 in 1930, just before the Great Depression, and similar levels in the mid-1940s in response to booming wartime traffics.1 A substantial proportion of black workers who worked on the railways throughout the period were in fact employed indirectly rather than directly, that is, through the medium of contractors working on a fixed-term contract for the railways. It is nowhere made clear in official accounts whether the employment figures for black railway labour included indirect labour as well as direct labour. These two forms of black railway labour have different, but interconnected, histories.

Keywords

Migrant Worker Company Limited Black Worker Railway System Contract Price 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

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    The following is a list, arranged chronologically, of some of the most important studies to deal in depth with the 1948 general strike: R. Gray, The Two Nations. Aspects of the Development of Race Relations in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland (Oxford, 1960) (see pp. 315–23); Thornton, ‘A History of the African Population of Bulawayo’, draft chapter 6 (see pp. 12–48); J. Lunn, ‘The Political Economy of Protest: the 1948 General Strike in Southern Rhodesia’ (University of Manchester BA thesis, 1982); N. Bhebe, African Politics in Zimbabwe, 1947–58 (Harare, 1989); O. Stuart, ‘“Good Boys”, Footballers and Strikers: African Social Change in Bulawayo, 1933–53’; I.R. Phimister, An Economic and Social History of Zimbabwe (see pp. 258–74); J. Lunn, ‘The Meaning of the 1948 General Strike in Colonial Zimbabwe’, unpublished. (1994).Google Scholar
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© Jon Lunn 1997

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