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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Migrant Labour and the Peasantry in the Bechuanaland Protectorate
Author:Morapedi, Wazha G.ISNI
Year:1999
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:25
Issue:2
Period:June
Pages:197-214
Language:English
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:farmers
labour migration
Urbanization and Migration
History and Exploration
colonialism
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637600
Abstract:The major issues that dominate the literature on migration in Botswana are its causes, the recruitment of migrant labourers, and the socioeconomic effects of the withdrawal of many ablebodied young men on the peasant economies of the country. This article adopts, to some extent, a different perspective and argues that although migrant labour did have some negative effects on rural areas, it also contributed positively to agriculture and the economy of the country in general. The withdrawal of young men's labour through migration did not lead to 'underdevelopment' in agriculture and cattle husbandry because there were mitigating factors, such as inputs from migrant earnings into agriculture and the role played by peasant women. Furthermore, it appears that the effects of land shortage have been confused with those of labour migration and that there are no comprehensive data to prove that cultivated acreages declined significantly with the intensification of migrant labour. Finally, negative factors affecting crop production, such as low rainfall, have been given scant attention by scholars of labour migration. The conclusion is that, despite the migrants' low pay and the exploitative nature of migrancy, migrant remittances and deferred pay maintained and sustained the economies of numerous reserves and households in a country where there was no visible alternative. At the end, the author pays attention to a salient feature resulting from migration that had some negative effects on Tswana peasant society, viz. the incidence of lung disease, particularly tuberculosis, in Botswana. Notes, ref., sum.
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