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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The commodification of water in the arid and semi-arid parts of South Africa: a preliminary historical exploration
Author:Tempelhoff, Johann W.N.ISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:water management
water resources
Abstract:The commodification of water is a spin-off from the rapid advances made by liberal capitalism in all parts of the world since the late-20th century. Increasingly water, traditionally considered to be a natural resource, has become subject to commodification. This paper presents an overview of the human consumption of water in the arid and semiarid parts of southern Africa. It first considers the San and Khoikhoi's traditional patterns of using water. Working from the premise of transition from hunting, gathering and foraging to pastoralism, it is clear that, even in the more arid regions, water was freely accessible in South Africa's precolonial history. In the colonial period, as from 1652, tracts of land with water supplies fitted into a new dispensation of land tenure. This had a negative impact on indigenous hunter-gatherers and pastoralists. It also affected patterns of water consumption as the population of pastoralists in the interior of the subcontinent increased. By the time the South African mining revolution started at the copper mines of Okiep in the 1850s, water had become a commodity. Furthermore, the rapid introduction of technology to procure more water strengthened the process of commodification that continued unabatedly until the 1990s. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans [Journal abstract]