Land, Labour Migration and Politics in Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho and Swazilandby Donald Kalinde Kowet

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<ul><li><p>Board of Trustees, Boston University</p><p>Land, Labour Migration and Politics in Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland byDonald Kalinde KowetReview by: Joel SamoffThe International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1981), pp. 179-181Published by: Boston University African Studies CenterStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/218137 .Accessed: 08/05/2014 19:11</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Boston University African Studies Center and Board of Trustees, Boston University are collaborating withJSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The International Journal of African Historical Studies.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 169.229.32.137 on Thu, 8 May 2014 19:11:01 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=buafchttp://www.jstor.org/stable/218137?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>BOOK REVIEWS 179 </p><p>LAND, LABOUR MIGRATION AND POLITICS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: BOTSWANA, LESOTHO AND SWAZILAND. By Donald Kalinde Kowet. New York: Afri- cana Publishing Company, and Uppsala: Swedish Institute of African Studies, 1978. Pp. 243. $14.50. </p><p>The mini-states of southern Africa are situated at a critical con- juncture. Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland reflect the tensions between majority and minority rule. Each in its own way experi- ences, and thus outlines, persisting structural underdevelopment within a framework of regional inequality. And each grapples with the continuation of precolonial and colonial institutions, especially a landed nobility, that have remained more vigorous than their counterparts in other African states. </p><p>In this recent study (another of the wide-ranging publications of the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies), Donald Kowet addresses the experiences of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland and finds them to be almost model cases of colonial under- development and peripheral neocolonialism. Though their popu- lations, geographies, economies, and politics differed, each state found its land-based economy effectively destroyed in its contact with white settlers and British imperialism. Each became a labor reservoir, providing workers for the extractive and agricultural economy of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century South Africa. The transition to independence was characterized by a neocolonial compromise: though the new rulers were drawn from among the chiefs and their European allies rather than from among the intelligentsia and middle classes, as was more common elsewhere in Africa, the outcome was similar. Inequality and dependence have been perpetuated, occasionally reconfigured but generally reinforced. </p><p>At the same time, Kowet argues, each of the three countries adopted reforms, particularly in regard to land tenure regulations and chiefly authority, that have led to the emergence of a new class, a modernizing middle class. That new class stimulated and led a challenge to the postcolonial governments and came close to unseating them in Lesotho and Swaziland, but a combination of legislative and political manipulations and coups by powerholders succeeded in preserving their rule for yet a while longer. Hence, though the new class has increased its share in the distribution of wealth in these societies, the underlying structures of under- development-especially the incorporation of these three states as labor reservoirs in a regional network-have been maintained. </p><p>Though Kowet's analysis seems basically sound as far as it goes, unfortunately he stops well short of making full use of the analytic power of the dependence and underdevelopment framework he has </p><p>This content downloaded from 169.229.32.137 on Thu, 8 May 2014 19:11:01 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>180 BOOK REVIEWS </p><p>adopted. Far too often he employs terms that have become current, even faddish, in the literature, without drawing on their theoretical content. For example, in his discussion of the emergence of a new class in the three states, he refers variously to a "new class," a "new class of elite," a "new African elite," and a "middle class." Apparently, he is attempting to portray a class constituted of senior government officials and successful entrepreneurs, the "organi- zational," or "bureaucratic," or "managerial" bourgeoisie of other authors (though he makes little use of others' work). For that notion to be useful, the characterization of the class must be specific. The interests of shopkeepers will differ from the interests of large ranchers, whose interests in turn may differ from those of senior civil servants, and so on. Those differing interests generate different political strategies. For "new class" to be useful analytically, the nature of the class, its interests, and its conflicts must be specified sufficiently clearly for its behavior to be explained. Otherwise, the new class/elite becomes a residual category with some common- sense attractiveness but little analytic utility. </p><p>Kowet has similar problems with the notion of "contradiction." Most often, he uses contradiction as a synonym for conflict, which is semantically reasonable but analytically unhelpful. As a result, he never develops the potential for the analysis of an important contradiction as an explanation for the direction of change. But there are such contradictions here. The interests of the new class and the landed nobility cannot be reconciled within the existing institutional arrangements. Though the landed nobility has man- aged to retain political power, the development (even dependent development) of the three countries strengthens the position of the entrepreneurs and managers. In other words, the policies adopted by those in power stimulate the very forces that challenge their power. The analysis of that contradiction could generate a rich sense of the evolution of regional events. Kowet, however, is content to leave contradiction, like class, at a descriptive level. </p><p>There are other problems here as well. Though Kowet documents some of his claims, far too often large-scale assertions are left unsupported. Kowet attempts to focus his analysis by discussing the experiences of each of the three countries under numerous sub- stantive categories. He does succeed in avoiding the disjuncture of those experiences that often occurs when each of the three countries is discussed at length separately, yet he has not really integrated his discussion in this side-by-side presentation. It remains choppy and disjointed. Major actors in southern Africa-for example, trans- national capital, South African capital, the mining industry, or the South African government-all remain offstage and slightly out of focus. Since their interests are not always identical, it is important </p><p>This content downloaded from 169.229.32.137 on Thu, 8 May 2014 19:11:01 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>BOOK REVIEWS 181 BOOK REVIEWS 181 </p><p>to see more clearly their behavior, especially in the under- development and dependence framework, lest they become myster- ious and omnipotent outsiders. </p><p>Perhaps the important difficulty here is Kowet's tendency to project the present into the future. That, too, stems from his failure to use underdevelopment, dependence, contradiction, class, and the like as analytic, rather than descriptive constructs. Kowet argues persuasively that the incorporation of the three countries into a regional network has created a situation of underdevelopment and dependence. Rulers in all three countries require continued labor migration to control land and thus to remain in power. As a result, all three countries become labor reservoirs. Yet, at the same time the vitality of the regional network requires real development in its own periphery, both to produce new wealth and to permit the expansion of the market. Therein lies a major contradiction. The requisites of growth (which itself is required for the survival of the rulers of South Africa as well as their clients) undermine the labor reservoir role of at least part of the regional periphery. Extreme dependence at the periphery and regional growth are ultimately incompatible. The evolution of events is thus the outcome of the struggles of the participants as they work to achieve their preferred resolution of that tension. Labor reservoirs may or may not persist but from Kowet's analysis we cannot know why. </p><p>Kowet's work is largely correct and provides insight into three countries usually treated as if they were one. He has begun to construct the foundation for a very solid analysis, no small accom- plishment. </p><p>JOEL SAMOFF </p><p>Stanford University </p><p>NIGERIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES. By E. A. Ayandele. London: Frank Cass and Co., 1979. Pp. xii, 305. $25.00. </p><p>Trendsetters in African historical studies in Britain and North America may find Ayandele's preoccupations in this collection, a companion volume to his African Historical Studies, somewhat dated. The topics covered are all from the history of Nigeria in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a bias towards the history of the Christian missions, and they are firmly rooted in missionary sources, of which the author has an impressive com- mand. Nevertheless, the bringing together of these ten essays, reprinted from journals which are not readily accessible (even in </p><p>to see more clearly their behavior, especially in the under- development and dependence framework, lest they become myster- ious and omnipotent outsiders. </p><p>Perhaps the important difficulty here is Kowet's tendency to project the present into the future. That, too, stems from his failure to use underdevelopment, dependence, contradiction, class, and the like as analytic, rather than descriptive constructs. Kowet argues persuasively that the incorporation of the three countries into a regional network has created a situation of underdevelopment and dependence. Rulers in all three countries require continued labor migration to control land and thus to remain in power. As a result, all three countries become labor reservoirs. Yet, at the same time the vitality of the regional network requires real development in its own periphery, both to produce new wealth and to permit the expansion of the market. Therein lies a major contradiction. The requisites of growth (which itself is required for the survival of the rulers of South Africa as well as their clients) undermine the labor reservoir role of at least part of the regional periphery. Extreme dependence at the periphery and regional growth are ultimately incompatible. The evolution of events is thus the outcome of the struggles of the participants as they work to achieve their preferred resolution of that tension. Labor reservoirs may or may not persist but from Kowet's analysis we cannot know why. </p><p>Kowet's work is largely correct and provides insight into three countries usually treated as if they were one. He has begun to construct the foundation for a very solid analysis, no small accom- plishment. </p><p>JOEL SAMOFF </p><p>Stanford University </p><p>NIGERIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES. By E. A. Ayandele. London: Frank Cass and Co., 1979. Pp. xii, 305. $25.00. </p><p>Trendsetters in African historical studies in Britain and North America may find Ayandele's preoccupations in this collection, a companion volume to his African Historical Studies, somewhat dated. The topics covered are all from the history of Nigeria in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a bias towards the history of the Christian missions, and they are firmly rooted in missionary sources, of which the author has an impressive com- mand. Nevertheless, the bringing together of these ten essays, reprinted from journals which are not readily accessible (even in </p><p>This content downloaded from 169.229.32.137 on Thu, 8 May 2014 19:11:01 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp. 179p. 180p. 181</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsThe International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1981), pp. 1-196Front Matter [pp. 1 - 133]Smallpox in the Sudan [pp. 5 - 33]Educating Congolese Abroad: An Historical Note on African Elites [pp. 34 - 64]The Role of Propaganda in the Development of Indirect Rule in Nigeria, 1890-1929 [pp. 65 - 92]The 1926 Railway Strike and Anglo-Krio Relations: An Interpretation [pp. 93 - 123]Review ArticleImperialism [pp. 124 - 132]</p><p>Book Reviewsuntitled [pp. 134 - 135]untitled [pp. 135 - 138]untitled [pp. 139 - 143]untitled [pp. 143 - 149]untitled [pp. 149 - 150]untitled [pp. 150 - 152]untitled [pp. 153 - 154]untitled [pp. 154 - 157]untitled [pp. 157 - 159]untitled [pp. 159 - 161]untitled [pp. 161 - 163]untitled [pp. 163 - 164]untitled [pp. 165 - 166]untitled [pp. 167 - 168]untitled [pp. 169 - 170]untitled [pp. 170 - 172]untitled [pp. 172 - 173]untitled [pp. 174 - 175]untitled [pp. 175 - 177]untitled [pp. 177 - 178]untitled [pp. 179 - 181]untitled [pp. 181 - 182]untitled [pp. 182 - 184]untitled [pp. 185 - 188]</p><p>Books Received [pp. 191 - 194]Back Matter [pp. 189 - 196]</p></li></ul>

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