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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'From Red Blanket to Civilization': Propaganda and Recruitment Films for South Africa's Gold Mines, 1920-1940
Author:Reynolds, Glenn
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
labour recruitment
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Labor and Employment
History and Exploration
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070601136657
Abstract:This article highlights the importance of motion pictures in the Transvaal Chamber of Mines' strategy to recruit and educate African workers for South Africa's Witwatersrand gold mines during the interwar years. Responding to the need for an ever-expanding workforce, in the mid-1920s industry officials began producing and exhibiting recruiting films in the reserves and protectorates in a bid to establish hegemony over labour reservoirs. Miners on the Rand were also shown films promoting Western medicine and safety procedures in a bid to reduce contagion and worksite injuries. These films are an important source for historians as they were among the earliest examples of colonial cinema produced south of the Sahara, and provided tens of thousands of African villagers with their first opportunity for viewing motion pictures. Also, the films provided a new venue that made it possible for potential recruits and their families to critique the minutiae of labour contracts and working conditions on the Rand. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]