Migrant Labour in South Africa's Mining Economy: The Struggle for the Gold Mines' Labour Supply, 1890-1920

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1985 - History - 323 pages
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This book is a study of the origins of migratory labour and racial discrimination in South Africa's premier industry, the gold mines of the Witwatersrand. Based upon government records and private business archives, it examines the highly competitive world of mine labour recruiting at the turn of the century and concludes that this regimented labour system was the product not only of the mining companies but also of political pressures and economic needs in South African society. The systerm was remarkable for the hardship it imposed, for the size of the labour force recruited - more than 200,000 low-wage black labourers were delivered annually to the industry's grim, barrack-like compounds - and for the fact that most of the workers were African pastoralists without previous industrial experience. Forced to work in appalling conditions amid much squalor and disease, more than 50,000 miners died on the Witwatersrand in a single decade.

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About the author (1985)

ALAN JEEVES is Professor of History at Queen's University, Ontario.

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