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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beasts of Burden: The Subordination of Southern Tswana Women, ca.1800-1840
Author:Kinsman, Margaret
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2636815
Abstract:This essay attempts to illustrate the structures which worked to restrain southern Tswana women in a subordinated position between 1800 and 1840. Its intended contribution is twofold: first, to provoke some discussion amongst historians as to the nature of patriarchy amongst pre-colonial black communities in southern Africa, for it is against this framework that the position of black women in colonial southern Africa can be better understood. Second, it seeks to provide and historical backdrop which better illuminates the transformation of southern Tswana society later in the century. The paper illustrates how the vulnerability of southern Tswana women inhibited their breaking free from a position of subordination. It is argued that it was not one factor, but the intertwining of a variety which operated in daily life and which worked to bind women to subservience: patterns of land tenure and ownership, the work schedule imposed by subsistence production, vulnerability to deprivation and violence, and, finally, the work ethic itself. Notes.