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Inside the Enclosed Farm: Farmers, Shepherds, and the Introduction of New Technology in Cape Wool Farming, 1865–1950

  • Fredrik Lilja (a1)
Abstract

This article considers the transformation of labour relations in wool farming in the Cape Colony/Province between 1865 and 1950. It focuses specifically on shepherds and how their relationship with farmers changed as a result of the requirement to improve production through the implementation of fenced camps in the late nineteenth century. It was expected that this innovation would reduce the demand among farmers for shepherds. This article shows, however, that the demand for shepherds continued due to the existence of jackals and the lack of sufficient water in the dry Karoo. It was not until the 1910s that, on the most progressive farms, the demand for shepherds was markedly reduced. But the shepherds were replaced by camp walkers – people who managed fences rather than sheep. Among farmers who had not invested in fencing and water supplies, the demand for shepherding continued, and, to compete, those farmers hired younger shepherds.

TRANSLATED ABSTRACTS FRENCH – GERMAN – SPANISH

Fredrik Lilja. À l’intérieur de la ferme enclose. Exploitants agricoles, bergers et introduction d’une nouvelle technologie dans la production lainière du Cap, 1865–1950.

Cet article concerne la transformation des relations de travail dans la production lainière dans la colonie/la province du Cap entre 1865 et 1950. Il met spécifiquement l’accent sur les bergers et la manière dont leur relation avec les exploitants agricoles changea par suite de l’exigence d’améliorer la production par la mise en œuvre de camps clôturés à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle. Il était prévu que cette innovation réduirait les exigences des exploitants agricoles envers les bergers. Cet article montre cependant que la demande de bergers continua en raison de l’existence de chacals et du manque d’approvisionnements en eau suffisants dans le désert du Karoo. Ce ne fut pas avant les années 1910 que, sur les exploitations agricoles les plus progressistes, la demande de bergers fut nettement réduite. Mais les bergers furent remplacés par des gardiens de camp, personnes qui contrôlaient les clôtures plutôt que les moutons. Parmi les exploitants agricoles qui n’avaient pas investi dans la pose de clôtures et les approvisionnements en eau, la demande pour le travail de berger continua et, pour être concurrentiels, ces exploitants agricoles engagèrent de plus jeunes bergers.

Traduction: Christine Plard

Fredrik Lilja. Im Inneren des eingehegten Hofs. Landwirte, Schäfer und die Einführung neuer Technologien in der Wollwirtschaft des Kaps, 1865–1950.

Dieser Aufsatz behandelt den Wandel der Arbeitsverhältnisse in der Kapkolonie beziehungsweise Kapprovinz zwischen 1865 und 1950. Der Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf Schäfern und den Veränderungen in ihrem Verhältnis zu Landwirten, die sich Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Notwendigkeit ergaben, die Produktion durch die Einführung umzäunter Weideflächen zu verbessern. Man erwartete, dass diese Neuerung die Angewiesenheit der Landwirte auf Schäfer verringern würde. Der Beitrag zeigt jedoch, dass die Nachfrage nach Schäfern anhielt, und zwar aufgrund der Anwesenheit von Schakalen und dem Wassermangel in der Karoo-Halbwüste. Die Angewiesenheit der Landwirte auf Schäfer verringerte sich erst in den 1910er Jahren in einem nennenswerten Ausmaß, und auch dann nur auf den fortschrittlichsten Höfen. Allerdings wurden die Schäfer durch sogenannte camp walkers ersetzt: Diese beaufsichtigten nicht mehr die Schafe, sondern die Zäune. Unter jenen Landwirten, die nicht in Zäune und Wasservorräte investiert hatten, hielt die Nachfrage nach Schäfern an; um konkurrenzfähig zu bleiben, begannen diese Landwirte, jüngere Schäfer zu beschäftigen.

Übersetzung: Max Henninger

Fredrik Lilja. En el interior de las granjas cercadas. Granjeros, pastores y la introducción de innovaciones tecnológicas en la producción de lana en El Cabo, 1865 – 1950.

Este texto se centra en las transformaciones de las relaciones laborales en la producción de lana en la colonia, y posterior provincia, de El Cabo entre 1865 y 1950. De forma específica presta atención a los pastores y en cómo a finales del siglo XIX mediante la práctica de cercar los pastos su relación con los propietarios de las granjas se transformó como resultado de la exigencia de aumentar la producción. Con la introducción de esta innovación se esperaba que se redujera la necesidad del número de pastores por parte de los granjeros. Sin embargo, en el texto se muestra que la presencia de chacales y la escasez en el suministro de agua en la árida meseta de Karroo hicieron que se mantuviera esa necesidad. No fue hasta la década de 1910 cuando, en las granjas más avanzadas, la demanda de pastores se redujo de forma considerable. Pero entonces los pastores fueron reemplazados por montañeros, encargados más de vigilar las cercas que las propias ovejas. Entre los granjeros que no habían invertido en la instalación de cercas y en mecanismos de suministro de agua la necesidad de pastores siguió siendo la misma y, para poder competir con los anteriores, estos propietarios de granjas optaron por contratar a pastores más jóvenes.

Traducción: Vicent Sanz Rozalén

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Corresponding author
E-mail: fredrik.lilja@edu.uu.se
Footnotes
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I would like to thank Lars Olsson, Jonas Sjölander, anonymous reviewers, and the IRSH Editorial Committee for their comments.

Footnotes
References
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1 Marx, Karl, Capital, Volume I (London, 1990 [1867]), pp. 891892 ; McMichael, Philip, Settlers and the Agrarian Question: Capitalism in Colonial Australia (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 1 , 55–56.

2 Ross, Robert, “The Origins of Capitalist Agriculture in the Cape Colony: A Survey”, in William Beinart, Peter Delius, and Stanley Trapido (eds), Putting a Plough to the Ground: Accumulation and Dispossession in Rural South Africa 1850–1930 (Braamfontein, 1986), pp. 56100 , 65, 87.

3 Beinart, William, The Rise of Conservation in South Africa: Settlers, Livestock, and the Environment 1770–1950 (Oxford, 2008 [2003]), pp. 45 , 10–17.

4 For a comprehensive discussion of the topic, see Lilja, Fredrik, The Golden Fleece of the Cape: Capitalist Expansion and Labour Relations in the Periphery of Transnational Wool Production c.1860–1950 (Uppsala, 2013).

5 Crais, Clifton, White Supremacy and Black Resistance in Pre-Industrial South Africa: The Making of the Colonial Order in the Eastern Cape, 1770–1865 (Cambridge, 1992), p. 154 ; Smith, Kenneth, From Frontier to Midlands: A History of the Graaff-Reinet District, 1786–1910 (Grahamstown, 1976), pp. 212213 ; Dubow, Saul, Land, Labour and Merchant Capital in the Pre-Industrial Rural Economy of the Cape: The Experience of the Graaff-Reinet District (1852–72) (Cape Town, 1982), pp. 4650 ; Bouch, Richard, “Eastern Cape Wool Farmers: Production and Control in Cathcart, 1920–1940”, in Alan Jeeves and Jonathan Crush (eds), White Farms, Black Labor: The State and Agrarian Change in Southern Africa, 1910–50 (Pietermaritzburg, 1997), pp. 94113, 99, 104.

6 See Amin, Shahid and van der Linden, Marcel, “Introduction”, International Review of Social History, 41:4 (1996), pp. 17 .

7 Sabato, Hilda, Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market: Buenos Aires in the Pastoral Age, 1840–1890 (Albuquerque, NM, 1990), pp. 112114 , 138.

8 van Sittert, Lance, “Holding the Line: The Rural Enclosure Movement in the Cape Colony, c.1865–1910”, Journal of African History, 43:1 (2002), pp. 95118 , 96, 112, 117.

9 Bundy, Colin, The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry (London, 1979), p. 116 .

10 Archer, Sean, “Technology and Ecology in the Karoo: A Century of Windmills, Wire and Changing Farming Practice”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 26:4 (2000), pp. 675696 , 675, 681, 686; Van Sittert, “Holding the Line”, pp. 98–99, 101–107.

11 McMichael, Settlers and the Agrarian Question, pp. 147–148, 216–218.

12 Archer, “Technology and Ecology in the Karoo”, p. 682.

13 Sabato, Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market, pp. 156, 136.

14 See Morris, Mike, “The Development of Capitalism in South African Agriculture: Class Struggle in the Countryside”, Economy and Society, 5:3 (1976), pp. 292343 ; Keegan, Timothy J., Rural Transformations in Industrializing South Africa: The Southern Highveld to 1914 (Basingstoke, 1987).

15 Beinart, William, “Transkeian Migrant Workers and Youth Labour on the Natal Sugar Estates 1918–1948”, Journal of African History, 32:1 (1991), pp. 4163 , 54–55; van Onselen, Charles, The Seed is Mine: The Life of Kas Maine, A South African Sharecropper, 1894–1985 (Cape Town, 1997 [1996]), pp. 257, 271 , 147.

16 Guy, Jeff, “Analysing Pre-Capitalist Societies in Southern Africa”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 14:1 (1987), pp. 1837 , 22–24.

17 Grier, Beverly, Invisible Hands: Child Labor and the State in Colonial Zimbabwe (Portsmouth, NH, 2006), pp. 6970 , 79–95.

18 See Luxemburg, Rosa, The Accumulation of Capital (Cornwall, 2003 [1913]); Wolpe, Harold, “Capitalism and Cheap Labour-Power in South Africa: From Segregation to Apartheid”, in Harold Wolpe (ed.), The Articulation of Modes of Production: Essays from Economy and Society (London, 1980), pp. 289319 ; Morris, “The Development of Capitalism”.

19 van Sittert, Lance, “The Nature of Power: Cape Environmental History, the History of Ideas and Neoliberal Historiography”, Journal of African History, 45:2 (2004), pp. 305313 ; Beinart, William and van Sittert, Lance, “Academic Amnesia and the Poverty of Polemics”, Journal of African History, 46:1 (2005), pp. 127137 .

20 Noble, John, Descriptive Handbook of the Cape Colony: Its Condition and Resources (Cape Town, 1875), pp. 258259 .

21 Cape of Good Hope, Proceedings of, and Evidence Taken by, the Commission on Native Affairs (Grahamstown, 1865), Joseph Gush, C. Rippon, J.K. Wilmot, Albany, pp. 5–7; S. McCum, Queenstown, p. 42; G. White, Albany, p. 10.

22 Census of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, 1875, G. 42–1876 (Cape Town, 1877); Census of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, 1891, G. 6–1892 (Cape Town, 1892); Union of South Africa, Population Census 1946, vol. V, U.G. 41–1954 (Pretoria, 1954).

23 Noble, Descriptive Handbook of the Cape Colony, p. 134.

24 Cape Census 1891, pp. 304–305, 438.

25 Fluctuations in the number of other livestock had little impact on changes in the number of “shepherds or herds”. See Lilja, The Golden Fleece, pp. 45–46.

26 Cape of Good Hope, Report of the Select Committee on Fences Bill, 1872, A. 18–1872 (Cape Town, 1872), p. 48; Noble, Descriptive Handbook of the Cape Colony, pp. 133–134.

27 Commission on Native Affairs, Appendix No. 2, pp. 4–71.

28 Rubidge accounts. Preparation for census 1875, Wellwood farm, Graaff-Reinet. Private archive.

29 Rubidge diaries, Wellwood farm, Graaff-Reinet, 1875. Private archive. These were Cobus, Piet, October, Buiter, Old Damond, and Booy.

30 Sabato, Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market, pp. 72, 112–114, 128.

31 See Grier, Invisible Hands; Susan Levine, Children of a Bitter Harvest: Child Labour in the Cape Winelands (Cape Town, 2013).

32 Census of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, 1904, G. 19–1905 (Cape Town, 1905), pp. 360–361.

33 Rubidge accounts, Preparation for census 1875; Rubidge diaries, 24 November 1874.

34 Rubidge diaries, 24 November 1874.

35 Crais, White Supremacy and Black Resistance, p. 109.

36 See Select Committee on Fences Bill; Noble, Descriptive Handbook of the Cape Colony, p. 259.

37 Select Committee on Fences Bill, P. Watermeyer, M.L.A. Richmond, p. 33.

38 Ibid., J. van der Byl, Caledon, p. 17.

39 One morgen equals 0.85 hectares.

40 For a further discussion on imperialism and wire imports, see Lilja, The Golden Fleece, pp. 86–89.

41 Van Sittert, “Holding the Line”, pp. 101–104, 117; McMichael, Settlers and the Agrarian Question, p. 219; Sabato, Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market, p. 156.

42 McMichael, Settlers and the Agrarian Question, p. 216.

43 Van Sittert, “Holding the Line”, pp. 98, 115.

44 Cory Library, Grahamstown, MS 6189, Old Extracts from Old Wellwood, 1853, 1862; Rubidge diaries, 14 July 1890.

45 See Beinart, The Rise of Conservation, ch. 8.

46 Archer, “Technology and Ecology in the Karoo”, p. 692; Van Sittert, “Holding the Line”, p. 116.

47 Report of the Select Committee on Fencing or Enclosing of Lands, 1889, A. 10–1889 (Cape Town, 1889), John Frost, Queenstown, p. 10.

48 Ibid., p. 18.

49 See Rubidge diaries, 7 August 1910.

50 Sabato, Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market, p. 128.

51 See Cape Census 1875, p. 185, xiii; Cape Census 1891, pp. 304–305, 438; Census of the Union of South Africa 1911, U.G. 32–1912 (Pretoria, 1913), pp. 564–565, 1208–1209.

52 Rubidge diaries, 7 December 1880. One of the labourers “washed dam in camp No. 6”.

53 See, for example, ibid., 15 March 1877, 4 November, and 12 December 1878.

54 Ibid., 3, 7, and 21 January, 16 March, 14 August, 22 September, 5 November 1880; Rubidge diaries, 27 January, 9, 15, and 24 February, 14 and 16 March, 8 April, 5 October, 4 November 1896. It is possible that “Old Jan” and “Jan” referred to the same person.

55 Cape Census 1891, pp. 456, 463.

56 Rubidge diaries, 24 July 1896.

57 See Lilja, The Golden Fleece, ch. 6 for wool exports; Keegan, Timothy, Colonial South Africa and the Origins of the Racial Order (London, 1996), p. 126 ; Crais, White Supremacy and Black Resistance, pp. 157, 194, Ross, “The Origins of Capitalist Agriculture”, p. 38.

58 Bundy, The Rise and Fall, p. 135; Bouch, “Eastern Cape Wool Farmers”, p. 96.

59 Select Committee on Farm Labour Supply, 1907. C.2–1907 (Cape Town, 1907), p. 58. Some 4,666 people left Queenstown for the mines in 1907.

60 Blue Book on Native Affairs, 1909 (Cape Town, 1910), pp. 15–21.

61 Ibid., p. 12.

62 Sabato, Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market, p. 108.

63 See Van Sittert, “Holding the Line”, p. 117.

64 Cape Census 1891, pp. 456, 463; Cape Census 1904, pp. 506, 517; South Africa Census 1911, pp. 1262–1263.

65 Cape Census 1891, pp. 456–457; Cape Census 1904, pp. 506–507, 516-17; South Africa Census 1911, pp. 1255–1257.

66 Blue Book on Native Affairs, 1909, p. 16.

67 Ibid., p. 17.

68 For Fencing Act of 1912 and amendment in 1922, see Lilja, The Golden Fleece, pp. 131–133, 156; Rubidge diaries, 5 December 1913.

69 Natives Land Commission, 1916. vol. II (Cape Town, 1916), Appendix IX, W.R. Warren, Stutterheim, p. 177.

70 Report on Agricultural and Pastoral Production: Agricultural Census, 1918, U.G. 53–1919 (Cape Town, 1919), p. 9.

71 Report on Agricultural and Pastoral Production: Agricultural Census, 1926–27, U.G. 37–1928 (Pretoria, 1928) p. 25.

72 Final Report of the Drought Investigation Commission 1923, U.G. 49–1923 (Cape Town, 1923), D.H.R. Featherstone, Aberdeen, p. 179.

73 Ibid., p. 8.

74 Ibid., p. 35.

75 Rubidge diaries, 8 December 1914.

76 McMichael, Settlers and the Agrarian Question, p. 218.

77 Rubidge diaries, 8 March 1918.

78 Morris, “The Development of Capitalism”, pp. 321–324.

79 For a further discussion of capitalization and proletarianization, see Morris, Mike, “Social History and the Transition to Capitalism in the South African Countryside”, Review of African Political Economy, 41 (1988), pp. 6072 , 67.

80 First and Second Reports of the Select Committee on Suppression of Stock Thefts, 1923, S.C. 4–1923 (Cape Town, 1923), pp. 112, 128.

81 Ibid., p. 128.

82 Rubidge diaries, 10 February, 8 March, 6 July, 21 September 1895.

83 Ibid., 14 March 1927.

84 Ibid.

85 Hunter, Monica, Reaction to Conquest: Effects of Contact with Europeans on the Pondo of South Africa (London, 1936), pp. 516517 (gives £10 3s per family of 8.2 members).

86 McMichael, Settlers and the Agrarian Question, p. 218.

87 Rubidge diaries, 17 April to 12 May 1928.

88 Ibid., 6 February 1930.

89 Ibid., 7 August 1930.

90 Ibid., 27 March 1946.

91 Ibid., 30 August 1948.

92 Ibid., 16 September 1948.

93 Ibid., 16 November 1948.

94 Population Census 1946, vol. V, Occupation and Industries of the European, Asiatic, Coloured and Native Population, U.G. 41–1954, pp. 20, 152, 106, 118, 194, 204; Report on Agricultural and Pastoral Production: Agricultural Census 1945–46, U.G. 77–1948 (Pretoria, 1948), pp. 102–103, 110; South Africa Census 1911, pp. 564–565, 1208–1209.

95 South Africa Census 1911, p. 11; Sixth Census of the Population of the Union of South Africa, 1936, vol. IX, U.G. 12–1942 (Pretoria, 1942); South Africa Census 1946, vol. V, pp. 2–3, 88–89, 100–101, 138–139, 180–181, 190–191; Agricultural Census 1945–46, pp. 102–103, 110.

96 Cape Census 1904, pp. 360–361; South Africa Census 1936, vols VII, IX; South Africa Census 1946, vol. V, pp. 2–3, 88–89, 100–101, 138–139, 180–181, 190–191.

97 Rubidge accounts, 1924–1933; Rubidge diaries, 25 April 1930.

98 Select Committee on Suppression of Stock Thefts, 1923, p. 128.

99 Ibid., p. 111.

100 Ibid., p. 54.

101 See Minnaar, Anthony, “The South African Wool Industry and the Great Depression (1929–1934)”, Kleio, 22:1 (1990), pp. 5676 .

102 Native Farm Labour Committee, 1937–1939 (Pretoria, 1939), G.P. S.9523–1940–400, pp. 9–10.

103 Morris, “The Development of Capitalism”, p. 332.

* I would like to thank Lars Olsson, Jonas Sjölander, anonymous reviewers, and the IRSH Editorial Committee for their comments.

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