Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The World of European Labour on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1940–1945*

  • Duncan Money (a1)
Abstract

This article explores the experiences of white workers on the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia during World War II. Much of the existing literature on the region focuses on African labour, yet the boom that began in the copper-mining industry also attracted thousands of mobile, transient European workers. These workers were part of a primarily English-speaking labour diaspora with a global reach that linked mining centres around the world. The experience of this workforce generated seemingly contradictory trends of labour militancy, political radicalism, and racial exclusivity. A focus on two significant events during this period will seek to examine how these trends shaped events on the Copperbelt: the 1940 wildcat strikes and the 1942 arrest and deportation of white mineworkers’ union leaders. These events shed light on the international world of European labour and illustrate how the Copperbelt was linked to other mining centres around the world.

Duncan Money. Le monde du travail européen sur la Ceinture de cuivre en Rhodésie du Nord, 1940–1945.

Cet article examine les expériences de travailleurs blancs sur la Ceinture de cuivre en Rhodésie du Nord pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Une grande partie de la littérature existante sur cette région se concentre sur le travail africain, mais le boom qui commença dans l’exploitation minière du cuivre attira également des milliers travailleurs européens mobiles et en transit. Ces travailleurs faisaient partie d’une diaspora du travail principalement anglophone, avec une portée mondiale qui lia des centres miniers répartis dans le monde entier. L’expérience de cette main d’œuvre engendra des tendances apparemment contradictoires de militantisme ouvrier, de radicalisme politique et d’exclusivité raciale. L’étude de deux événements significatifs pendant cette période tentera de révéler comment ces tendances modelèrent les événements sur la Ceinture de cuivre: les grèves sauvages de 1940 et l’arrestation et la déportation des leaders syndicalistes de mineurs blancs. Ces événements attirèrent l’attention sur le monde international du travail européen, et illustrent comment la Ceinture de cuivre était liée à d’autres centres miniers mondiaux.

Traduction: Christine Plard

Duncan Money. Die Welt der europäischen Arbeiter im nordrhodesischen Kupfergürtel, 1940–1945.

Der Beitrag erkundet die Erfahrungen weißer Arbeiter im sogenannten “Kupfergürtel”, einem Bergbaugebiet in Nordrhodesien, während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Ein Großteil der vorhandenen Literatur zur Region konzentriert sich auf die Arbeit von Afrikanern, der im Kupferbergbau anhebende Boom zog jedoch auch tausende von mobilen, wandernden europäischen Arbeitern an. Diese Arbeiter waren Teil einer überwiegend englischsprachigen Diaspora globalen Ausmaßes, die Bergbauzentren auf der ganzen Welt verband. Die von diesen Arbeitskräften gesammelten Erfahrungen erzeugten scheinbar widersprüchliche Trends der Arbeitermilitanz, des politischen Radikalismus und der rassialen Exklusion. Anhand von zwei bedeutenden Ereignissen des Zeitraums wird versucht zu klären, wie dadurch die Vorkommnisse im “Kupfergürtel” geprägt wurden: Untersucht werden die wilden Streiks von 1940 und die 1942 erfolgte Verhaftung und Ausweisung weißer Bergbaugewerkschaftsführer. Diese Ereignisse werfen ein Licht auf die internationale Welt der europäischen Arbeiter und veranschaulichen, wie der “Kupfergürtel” mit anderen Bergbauzentren auf der ganzen Welt in Verbindung stand.

Übersetzung: Max Henninger

Duncan Money. El mundo de los trabajadores europeos en el “cinturón de cobre” de Rhodesia del Norte, 1940–1945.

Este artículo se adentra en las experiencias de los trabajadores blancos en el “cinturón de cobre” en Rhodesia del Norte durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Gran parte de la literatura que existe sobre la región se centra en el trabajo de los africanos, si bien el crecimiento que se dio de la industria minera del cobre también atrajo a miles de trabajadores blancos en tránsito y de forma temporal. Estos trabajadores fueron parte de una diáspora muy importante de trabajadores angloparlantes con un alcance global que vinculaba diferentes centros mineros alrededor del mundo. La experiencia de esta fuerza de trabajo generó tendencias aparentemente contradictorias combinando la militancia sindical, el radicalismo político y la exclusividad racial. Centrándose en dos acontecimientos significativos durante el periodo indicado tratamos de examinar como este tipo de tendencias condicionó los acontecimientos en el “cinturón de cobre”: las huelgas salvajes de 1940 y el arresto y deportación de líderes sindicales mineros blancos en 1942. Estos dos hechos aportan algo de luz sobre el mundo internacional de los trabajadores europeos y permiten ilustrar como el “cinturón de cobre” estaba vinculado a otros centros mineros en otras partes del planeta.

Traducción: Vicent Sanz Rozalén

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The World of European Labour on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1940–1945*
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The World of European Labour on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1940–1945*
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The World of European Labour on the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1940–1945*
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Footnotes
Hide All
*

The author would like to thank the Beit Fund of Oxford University and the Royal Historical Society for providing funding for research trips to Zambia and South Africa in 2014. A version of this article was presented as a paper at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and at the African Studies Association of the UK Conference, Brighton, UK during 2014. I am grateful to these audiences for their comments and questions. I would also like to thank the three anonymous referees and the Editorial Committee of this journal for their insightful and useful comments.

Footnotes
References
Hide All

1 Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Archive, Ndola [hereafter, ZCCM], 15.1.6E, Notes on a meeting held at Luanshya Hotel on 22 March 1940. The notes were compiled by police officers present, who were ostensibly attending to keep order. Sources for this article are drawn from the National Archives of Zambia, South Africa, Britain, and Australia along with company archives in Ndola and London as well as private archives in Oxford and Johannesburg. The primary sources are internal company documents, colonial and national government records, and trade-union papers. The archives of the white mineworkers’ union have not survived, but many of the union’s documents and communications appear in collections in other archives.

2 Hyslop, Jonathan, “The Imperial Working Class Makes Itself ‘White’: White Labourism in Britain, Australia, and South Africa Before the First World War”, Journal of Historical Sociology, 12 (1999), pp. 398421.

3 Bonner, Philip, Hyslop, Jonathan, and van der Walt, Lucien, “Rethinking Worlds of Labour: Southern African Labour History in International Context”, African Studies, 66:2–3 (2007), p. 154.

4 Kenefick, William, “Confronting White Labourism: Socialism, Syndicalism, and the Role of the Scottish Radical Left in South Africa before 1914”, International Review of Social History, 22 (2010), pp. 2962, 31.

5 Hyslop, Jonathan, “Scottish Labour, Race, and Southern African Empire c.1880–1922: A Reply to Kenefick”, International Review of Social History, 22 (2010), pp. 6381.

6 Walt, Lucien van der, “The First Globalisation and Transnational Labour Activism in Southern Africa: White Labourism, the IWW, and the ICU, 1904–1934”, African Studies, 66:2–3 (2007), pp. 223251, 231–232.

7 Hyslop, Jonathan, “The British and Australian Leaders of the South African Labour Movement, 1902–1914”, in Kate Darian-Smith, Patricia Grimshaw, and Stuart Macintyre (eds), Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures (Carlton, VIC, 2007), pp. 90108, 93.

8 See Hyslop, , “Imperial Working Class”, pp. 409, 415 for examples.

9 See the Mufulira Mine management’s report on a meeting with the local NRMWU branch for a good example of this; ZCCM, 13.3.4C, Notes on a meeting with the Mufulira NRMWU branch, 25 March 1953.

10 Phimister, Ian, “Workers in Wonderland? White Miners and the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt, 1946–1962”, South African Historical Journal, 63:2 (2011), pp. 183233, 191.

11 The earliest example of this is Lewin, Julius, The Colour Bar in the Copper Belt (Johannesburg, 1941), p. 9, but it has been a consistent theme since then. See Berger, Elena, Labour, Race, and Colonial Rule: The Copperbelt from 1924 to Independence (Oxford, 1974), pp. 4849; Perrings, Charles, Black Mineworkers in Central Africa: Industrial Strategies and the Evolution of an African Proletariat in the Copperbelt 1911–41 (London, 1979), p. 130; Butler, Larry, Copper Empire: Mining and the Colonial State in Northern Rhodesia, c.1930–64 (Basingstoke, 2007), pp. 44, 57; and Larmer, Miles, Mineworkers in Zambia: Labour and Political Change in Post-Colonial Africa (London, 2007), p. 32 for further examples.

12 Phimister, , “Workers in Wonderland?”, pp. 220221.

13 Bonner, , Hyslop, , and Van der Walt, , “Rethinking Worlds of Labour”, p. 139.

14 Walt, Van der, “White Labourism, the IWW, and the ICU”, p. 288.

15 Rhodesia-Nyasaland Royal Commission, Report (UK Parliament, House of Commons, Cmd. 5949) (London, 1939), p. 3.

16 Selection Trust Archives, London, G/7, Letters from J.A. Dunne, 11 September 1926 and 4 November 1926. Dunne was an American mining engineer sent to the Copperbelt to oversee the beginning of production.

17 “Twenty-four Old-Timers Say Goodbye”, Mufulira Magazine, July 1953. The same issue notes that five people had resigned from Mufulira Mine that month alone to move to Canada. This magazine does not, to my knowledge, survive in any repository but a copy is in my possession.

18 Northern Rhodesia Chamber of Mines Yearbook 1956 (Kitwe, 1957), p. 68.

19 Perrings, , Black Mineworkers in Central Africa, p. 252.

20 A grizzly was: “[a] sizing device consisting of two or more parallel steel bars over which broken rock is passed by gravity to trap oversize pieces which are reduced by hammers or explosives”. See “Glossary”, Zambia’s Mining Industry: The First 50 years (Ndola, 1978), p. 78.

21 “European” and “white” are used synonymously in this article. I am conscious that this equation may be problematic, particularly as some of these “white” workers had, in fact, never even been to Europe. However, I am following the way these terms are used in the original sources as workers at the time referred to themselves both as “white” and “European”.

22 Berger, , Labour, Race, and Colonial Rule, p. 16.

23 Home, Robert, “From Barrack Compounds to the Single Family House: Planning Worker Housing in Colonial Natal and Northern Rhodesia”, Planning Perspectives, 15 (2000), pp. 327347, 330, 340; Chauncey, George, Jr, “The Locus of Reproduction: Women's Labour in the Zambian Copperbelt, 1927–1953”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 7:2 (1981), pp. 135164, 138.

24 Gann, L.H., A History of Northern Rhodesia: Early Days to 1953 (London, 1964), p. 210.

25 Roberts, Andrew, “Notes towards a Financial History of Copper Mining in Northern Rhodesia”, Canadian Journal of African Studies, 16 (1982), pp. 347359, 348.

26 Butler, , Copper Empire, p. 17.

27 Confusingly, RAA operated Nkana Mine through another subsidiary, the Rhokana Corporation, in which RAA held a majority stake and which remained firmly under the control of Anglo American. See Alford, B.W.E. and Harvey, C.E., “The Formation of the Rhokana Corporation, 1930–32”, The Business History Review, 54 (1980), pp. 330358.

28 See ZCCM, 16.2.4B, Telegram from General Manager, Roan Antelope to Selection Trust London, 3 July 1930, for working conditions being set with reference to the Cumberland coalfields, and ZCCM, 3.8.2A, Letter from F.A. Unger to Manager, Anglo American Johannesburg, 11 April 1940, for how the Rand was similarly used as a reference point. Unger was the Technical Director of Anglo American.

29 Belich, James, Making Peoples: A History of New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century (Auckland, 1996), p. 428.

30 See the following letters between management and union representatives: Zambia National Archives, Lusaka [hereafter, ZNA], SEC1/1376, Letter from Frank Ayer to Charles Harris, 7 October 1936; Letter from Ben Rount to Chief Secretary, 25 October 1936. Ben Rount was the first NRMWU General Secretary and was killed by silicosis in 1939. The Chief Secretary was the senior civil servant in the Northern Rhodesia Government.

31 ZNA, MM 1/10/2, Agreement signed on 20 September 1937 with Roan Antelope Copper Mines.

32 Berger, , Labour, Race, and Colonial Rule, p. 58.

33 Dumett, Raymond, “Africa’s Strategic Minerals during the Second World War”, Journal of African History, 26 (1985), pp. 381408, 393. Britain also had access to significant copper supplies from mines in Katanga after Germany occupied Belgium.

34 Butler, , Copper Empire, p. 61.

35 The National Archives, London [hereafter, TNA], CO 795/118/15, Despatch from Governor’s Deputy to Colonial Secretary, 6 March 1940.

36 ZNA, SEC1/1376, Letter from Provincial Commissioner, Ndola to Chief Secretary, 4 March 1939. The Provincial Commissioner was the senior civil servant on the Copperbelt.

37 TNA, CO 795/122/14, Telegram from Officer Administering Government to Colonial Secretary, 16 May 1941.

38 See the following message by General Manager of Roan Antelope, who had overall responsibility for Mufulira Mine, to the London headquarters: ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Telegram from Frank Ayer to Selection Trust, London, 18 March 1940.

39 ZNA, SEC/1383, Letter from Governor John Maybin to Malcolm MacDonald, 2 April 1940. John Maybin was Governor of Northern Rhodesia from 1938 to 1941. He included a copy of the statement issued by the Mufulira Committee of Action in this letter.

40 See the following letter from Alfred Royden Harrison, General Manager at Nkana Mine: ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Letter from A. Royden Harrison to Manager, Anglo American Johannesburg, 30 March 1940; and ZCCM, 15.1.6E, Notes on interview with J. Purvis, March 18 1940. The notes are from W.J. MacKenzie, mine superintendant at Roan Antelope and originally from British Columbia, who requested a meeting with Jim Purvis, an electrician at Roan Antelope from Australia, after the strike began at Mufulira to discuss the mood at Roan Antelope. Purvis obliged and utilized the opportunity to criticize heavily the official NRMWU leadership, whom Purvis assumed had orchestrated the dispute and whom he despised as they had expelled him from the NRMWU in August 1939. This had precipitated the split in the union and the formation of the separate Roan Mineworkers’ Federation. Purvis was apparently surprised to learn that the official NRMWU leadership were not in charge, and some were not even on the Copperbelt.

41 “Leonora-Gwalia”, Kalgoorlie Miner, 12 February 1934.

42 “A Perth Man’s Impressions of Russia”, Perth Sunday Times, 7 July 1935; personal papers of Frank Maybank, in author’s possession.

43 Welensky Papers, Oxford, 644/10, Letter from Frank Maybank to Roy Welensky, 27 January 1957. Roy Welensky (who by 1957 had become a leading political figure among the European settlers in the region) was a trade unionist working on the railways in 1940. The Welensky Papers are a voluminous collection of his personal correspondence and official papers from the political offices he held.

44 Maybank’s view that he was primarily a member and a representative of the white workforce can be seen in his contributions to the Forster Commission (which was held to investigate the 1940 strikes); TNA, CO 795/117/2, Forster Commission, 29 May 1940.

45 ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Notes of meeting of mineworkers held in Cinema Hall, Nkana on Tuesday, 19 March 1940. The notes appear to have been compiled by a management informant.

46 The Legislative Council was the legislature governing some aspects of Northern Rhodesia, though the Governor had a veto over legislation and much power continued to reside in the Colonial Office. The body was partly appointed by the Governor and partly elected by white voters. Catherine Olds, whose husband was a miner, was elected to represent Nkana in 1935 but stood down in 1938. Following this dispute, a Northern Rhodesia Labour Party was formed and won five of the eight elected seats in 1941, including all three Copperbelt seats. For more details on the Legislative Council see Davidson, J.W., The Northern Rhodesian Legislative Council (London, 1948).

47 ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Notes of meeting of mineworkers held in Cinema Hall, Nkana on Tuesday, 19 March 1940.

48 Krikler, Jeremy, White Rising: The 1922 Insurrection and Racial Killing in South Africa (Manchester, 2005), pp. 3032; Johnstone, Frederick, Class, Race and Gold: A Study of Class Relations and Racial Discrimination in South Africa (London, 1976), pp. 5075.

49 Butler, , Copper Empire, p. 58.

50 See the following telegram from Arthur Storke, an American mining engineer and RST managing director: ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Telegram from Storke, Selection Trust London to F. Ayer, 19 March 1940. This telegram also notes that Anglo American were in complete agreement on this point.

51 ZNA, SEC1/1382, European Strike: Report on Mediation Attempt by T.S. Sandford, 26 March 1940.

52 ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Letter from Royden Harrison to Manager, Anglo American Johannesburg, 30 March 1940.

53 ZNA, SEC/1383, Extract from the Commissioner of Police’s Diary, 21 March 1940.

54 ZNA, SEC1/1382, Workers’ Demands from Mine Management (undated). This is the original list of demands drawn up by the action committees.

55 Katz, Elaine, The White Death: Silicosis on the Witwatersrand Gold Mines, 1886–1910 (Johannesburg, 1994).

56 See ZCCM, 15.1.6E, Notes on a meeting held at the Luanshya Hotel on 22 March 1940, where a debate took place on working conditions elsewhere. See ZNA, SEC1/1758, Roan Mineworkers’ Review, Christmas 1941 for an article praising the Soviet Union as the example to be emulated as it was “the only [government] who puts the needs of the people before the profits of a few”. The Roan Mineworkers’ Review was a regular publication of the NRMWU Roan Antelope branch. The Roan Mineworkers’ Federation re-joined the NRMWU in March 1941.

57 See ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Notes of meeting of mineworkers held in Cinema Hall, Nkana on Tuesday, 19 March 1940 for the announcement that telegrams had been sent to Clement Atlee and other Labour MPs; and Telegram from NRMWU, Mufulira to Arthur Storke, 2 September 1940 for telegrams sent during a subsequent dispute.

58 Phillips, John, “Alfred Chester Beatty: Mining Engineer, Financier, and Entrepreneur, 1898–1950”, in Raymond Dumett (ed.), Mining Tycoons in the Age of Empire, 1870–1945: Entrepreneurship, High Finance, Politics and Territorial Expansion (Farnham, 2009), pp. 215238, 217–223.

59 “Company Meetings”, The Times, 21 November 1933. Phelps Dodge had an indirect interest in RST through its holdings in the American Metal Company; see Roberts, , “Financial History of Copper Mining”, p. 348.

60 Hyde, Charles, Copper for America: The United States Copper Industry from Colonial Times to the 1990s (Tucson, AZ, 1998), pp. 86, 149159.

61 ZNA, SEC1/1420, Letter from Provincial Commissioner, Ndola to Chief Secretary, 25 September 1940.

62 Ibid., Letter from Frank Ayer to Chief Secretary, 9 September 1940.

63 ZCCM, 3.8.2A, Comparison between wages and conditions of employment in a large coal mine in Kent and the copper mines in Northern Rhodesia, 5 June 1940.

64 ZNA, SEC1/1420, Letter from Provincial Commissioner, Ndola to Chief Secretary, 7 September 1940.

65 ZNA, SEC1/1389, NRMWU Bulletin No. 2, February 1939.

66 Henderson, Ian, “Early African Leadership: The Copperbelt Disturbances of 1935 and 1940”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 2 (1975), pp. 8397, 92.

67 TNA, CO 795/117/2, Testimony from Changa Mwinangumbo, 23 May 1940.

68 Ibid., Testimony of Yaphet Gerusi, 24 May 1940. In another illustration of the contradictory attitudes on the mines, Gerusi also complained in his testimony that European miners regularly insulted Africans.

69 Ibid., Testimony of Edward Sampa, 23 May 1940. Sampa was a bricklayer at Nkana and had worked there for ten years.

70 ZNA, SEC1/1399, Northern Rhodesia Mine Workers’ Union Agreement.

71 Parker made these comments during a meeting with Colonial Office civil servants; see TNA, CO 795/122/14, Notes of a meeting held in Mr Hall’s room, 20 May 1941.

72 See ZCCM, 12.4.8F, Telegram from Anglo American Johannesburg to Rhokana London, 6 March 1942 for the campaign over mine recreation clubs. See the letter from the General Manager of Nchanga Mine to a local civil servant for details of the dispute over mine housing; ZNA, SEC1/1422, Letter from W.A. Pope to District Commissioner, Chingola, 27 August 1942. Details of how the copper production committees were formed and functioned are available in the minutes of committees on all four mines; see ZNA, SEC1/1620, Copper Production Committee Copperbelt, 1942–1948.

73 ZNA, SEC1/1758, Roan Mineworkers’ Review, Christmas 1941.

74 Quoted from Perrings, Black Mineworkers in Central Africa, p. 54 [emphasis in original].

75 ZNA, SEC1/1341, Report on Visit to the Congo, 7 October 1941. This report was compiled by the labour officer of the colonial administration.

76 Berger, Labour, Race, and Colonial Rule, Appendix A.

77 Meebelo, Henry, African Proletarians and Colonial Capitalism: The Origins, Growth, and Struggles of the Zambian Labour Movement to 1964 (Lusaka, 1986), p. 108.

78 TNA, CO 795/122/14, Telegram from Peterson, Luanshya to Selection Trust London, 25 April 1941. The companies attempted to pressure the British Government to prohibit the closed shop and the colour bar so some internal company correspondence is included among government papers.

79 Ibid., Notice to Employees, Northern Rhodesian Copper Mining Companies, 21 August 1941.

80 Fetter, Bruce, “If I Had Known That 35 Years Ago: Contextualizing the Copper Mines of Central Africa”, History in Africa, 26 (1999), pp. 449452, 451–452.

81 Historical Papers Archive, Johannesburg [hereafter, HPA], AH 646 Dc12.20, Memorandum submitted on behalf of the Northern Rhodesia Mine Workers’ Union by Mr J. Purvis.

82 Ibid.

83 See the following letter from the British Consul in Elisabethville (Congo) to a British official in Leopoldville (Congo): TNA, CO 795/123/7, Letter from T.R. Shaw to F.M. Shepherd, 11 August 1942.

84 Higginson, John, A Working Class in the Making: Belgian Colonial Labor Policy, Private Enterprise, and the African Mineworkers, 1907–1951 (Madison, WI, 1989), pp. 188, 194.

85 TNA, CO 795/123/7, Letter from T.R. Shaw to F.M. Shepherd, 11 August 1942.

86 TNA, CO 795/122/13, Letter from Governor Waddington to Oliver Stanley, 11 December 1942. Oliver Stanley was Colonial Secretary from November 1942 to July 1945; John Waddington was Governor of Northern Rhodesia from 1941–1947.

87 TNA, CO 795/123/7, Letter from William Gallacher to Colonial Secretary, 5 August 1942.

88 TNA, CO 795/123/7, Letter from T.R. Shaw to F.M. Shepherd, 28 September 1942.

89 TNA, CO 795/123/7, Letter from F.E.J.P. Murray to Clement Atlee, 18 August 1942. Murray, a general miner, was identified as a communist by the colonial administration and did not deny the allegation; see TNA, CO 795/122/13, Letter from Governor Waddington to Oliver Stanley, 11 December 1942. The same source claims that Murray did not fear competition from African workers because of his perception of his own skill as a miner.

90 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Memorandum submitted on behalf of the Northern Rhodesia Mine Workers’ Union by Mr J. Purvis. This document was put together by Jim Purvis to give an overview of the dispute in Katanga, the arrests of Maybank and Meyer, and as an appeal for solidarity.

91 Quoted in National Archives of South Africa, Pretoria [hereafter, NASA], ARB 119/5 1193, Meeting between His Excellency the Governor and the General Council of the Mine Workers’ Union. This is a copy of an address Governor Waddington made to the NRMWU General Council on 27 November 1942, during which he quoted from telegrams sent by Maybank which had been intercepted by the colonial administration.

92 TNA, PREM 4/43A/4, Telegram from Governor Waddington to Colonial Secretary, 6 September 1942 and 11 September 1942. The Rand Revolt was an armed uprising by white mineworkers in Johannesburg in 1922 which had escalated from a strike. See Krikler, White Rising for a detailed account of the revolt. A number of older white mineworkers on the Copperbelt had been involved in these events.

93 TNA, CAB 79/57/32, Reinforcements for Northern Rhodesia, 16 September 1942; TNA, PREM 4/43A/4, Note from Viscount Cranbourne, 24 September 1942. Viscount Cranbourne (Robert Gascoyne-Cecil) was Colonial Secretary from February to November 1942.

94 TNA, PREM 4/43A/4, Note from Viscount Cranbourne, 19 September 1942.

95 TNA, CO 795/122/13, Letter from Governor Waddington to Oliver Stanley, 11 December 1942.

96 Theunissen does not appear to have been connected with the other two men. Ossewa Brandwag was a far-right paramilitary movement in South Africa, where the organization had been attempting to carry out a sabotage campaign in opposition to South African involvement in the war. Several hundred suspected members were detained in South Africa during 1942, and Theunissen’s arrest appears to have been part of this process. See Furlong, Patrick J., Between Crown and Swastika: The Impact of the Radical Right on the Afrikaner Nationalist Movement in the Fascist Era (Hanover, NH, 1991), p. 144.

97 TNA, CO 795/122/15, Telegram from General Officer Commanding, East Africa to War Office, 21 October 1942.

98 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Resumé of Events Leading up to and Including the Arrests of the Trade Union Leaders (undated). The document was compiled by Erica Hogdson and the Johannesburg NRMWU committee.

99 “‘Lightning Jimmy’ Is In There, Swinging for the Mineworkers”, Northern News, 29 October 1958; National Archives of Australia, Canberra [hereafter, NAA], MT1139/1, Record since landing: J.F. Purvis (undated).

100 ZCCM, 15.1.6E, Notes on interview with J. Purvis, 20 March 1940. Even after the Roan branch rejoined the NRMWU, Purvis and other union members at Roan Antelope remained privately bitter about their treatment from other NRMWU branches during the split, and the failure of these branches to support their dispute to get a sacked American miner reinstated at Roan Antelope in 1939. This appears to have been behind the antagonism between Purvis and other leading NRMWU members.

101 NASA, ARB 119/5 1193, Meeting between His Excellency the Governor and the General Council of the Mine Workers’ Union.

102 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Memorandum from the General Council, NRMWU to the Governor of Northern Rhodesia (undated).

103 See the corresponding parliamentary transcripts in Hansard: 21 October 1942 vol. 383 cc1954–1956; 16 December 1942 vol. 385 cc1962–1963.

104 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Resumé of Events Leading up to and Including the Arrests of the Trade Union Leaders.

105 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Memorandum submitted on behalf of the Northern Rhodesia Mine Workers’ Union by Mr J. Purvis.

106 See HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Letter from Secretary, SAMWU to Secretariat, NRMWU, 17 December 1942 for an account of how SAMWU and the SALTC helped begin the campaign in South Africa after the SAMWU National Executive Committee discussed Purvis’s report on 27 November 1942.

107 “Deportation of Copperbelt Miners: S.A. Labour Council to take Action”, Johannesburg Star, 2 December 1942.

108 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Telegram from Walter Citrine to William de Vries, 18 December 1942. William de Vries was General Secretary of the SALTC.

109 TNA, CO 195/122/16, Letter from G.A. Andrews, Romford & Hornchurch Trades Council to Consul, Africa House, 4 December 1942.

110 “African Miners’ Call to Australia for Support”, Maryborough Chronicle, 24 December 1942. The Maryborough Chronicle was a newspaper in Queensland, Australia. The same article was reprinted in other Australian newspapers around the same time.

111 “Miners Seek Federal Aid”, Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 6 January 1943. The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate was a newspaper in New South Wales, Australia. In several sources Chris Meyer’s last name is spelt “Maeyer”.

112 NAA, A989, 1943/241/1, cutting from The Ironworker (undated).

113 “South Africa Interns a Militant’, Tribune, 6 January 1943.

114 NAA, A989, 1943/241/1, Letter from B. Flanagan to H.V. Evatt, 29 January 1943. Evatt was the Australian Minister for External Affairs; NASA, BTS 9/77/6A, Telegram from Flanagan, Australian Ironworkers’ Union to General Smuts (undated).

115 “Release Maybank & Maeyer: Mine Workers’ Ultimatum”, The Guardian, 3 December 1942. This article reprints a recent statement from the NRMWU. The Guardian itself did not mention the industrial colour bar on the Copperbelt, but notes that the arrest of Maybank and Meyer had occurred because of “Rhodesian miners’ efforts to stand by their fellow workers” in Belgian Congo. See ZNA, SEC1/1758, Nkana Mineworkers’ Review, Christmas 1941 for a good example of the NRMWU reprinting material from The Guardian, in this case a piece on fascist elements in the British Conservative Party and the Soviet war effort.

116 “Fight over Copper”, Daily Worker, 10 December 1942.

117 ZCCM, 3.8.2A, Letter from F.A. Unger, Anglo American to S.S. Taylor, Rhokana Corporation, 12 August 1940. The information was that Maybank had been an active member of the Communist Party of Australia. S.S. Taylor was managing director of Rhokana Corporation.

118 NASA, ARB 119/5 1193, Meeting between His Excellency the Governor and the General Council of the Mine Workers’ Union.

119 TNA, CO 795/122/16, Telegram from Waddington to Colonial Secretary, 27 November 1942.

120 NASA, ARB 119/5 1193, Letter from the Chief Secretary, Lusaka to Department of Labour, Pretoria, 4 December 1942.

121 HPA, AH 646 Dc12.20, Telegram from Walter Citrine to William de Vries, 26 December 1942.

122 TNA, CO 795/122/13, Telegram from Governor Waddington to Colonial Secretary, 8 January 1943.

123 Ibid., Telegram from Dominion Office to British High Commission, Canberra, 1 February 1943; NAA, A989, 1943/241/1, Letter from John Curtin to H. Wells, 9 February 1943. Wells was president of the Australian Coal and Shale Employees’ Federation.

124 TNA, CO 795/122/13, Letter from Walter Citrine to Oliver Stanley, 9 April 1943 and 10 June 1943.

125 TNA, CO 795/122/13, Notes of a meeting held in the Secretary of State’s room on 7 December 1943. Ebby Edwards and Citrine had a meeting with the Colonial Secretary to demand that Maybank be allowed to return to the Copperbelt. Edwards also claimed that he had received many letters from miners all across Britain asking for the matter to be raised in the House of Commons and at the TUC.

126 Report of the Proceedings at the 75th Annual Trades Union Congress (London, 1943), pp. 287–288.

127 International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, World Federation of Trade Unions Archives 10, Documents on the Second World Trade Union Conference and the First World Trade Union Congress (Paris, 25 September–8 October 1945): Report of the Committee on Nominations to the General Council, the Executive Committee and the Auditors.

128 ZNA, SEC1/1404, Telegram from Governor Waddington to Colonial Secretary, 13 January 1945.

129 TNA, CO 795/128/5, Extracts from the NRMWU President’s Report on Trip to England, 12 April 1945.

130 TNA, CAB/65/49/36, Conclusions of War Cabinet, 26 March 1945.

131 TNA, CO 795/128/5, Statement from Ronald Ormiston Sinclair, 16 August 1945.

132 Breckenridge, Keith, “Fighting for a White South Africa: White Working-Class Racism and the 1922 Rand Revolt”, South African Historical Journal, 57 (2007), pp. 228243, 238.

133 Meebelo, , African Proletarians, p. 171.

134 ZCCM, 3.8.1A, Notes of meeting of mineworkers held in Cinema Hall, Nkana on Tuesday, 19 March 1940.

135 ZNA, SEC/1383, Letter from Governor John Maybin to Malcolm MacDonald, 2 April 1940.

136 Roos, Neil, Ordinary Springboks: White Servicemen and Social Justice in South Africa, 1939–1961 (Aldershot, 2005), p.175.

* The author would like to thank the Beit Fund of Oxford University and the Royal Historical Society for providing funding for research trips to Zambia and South Africa in 2014. A version of this article was presented as a paper at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and at the African Studies Association of the UK Conference, Brighton, UK during 2014. I am grateful to these audiences for their comments and questions. I would also like to thank the three anonymous referees and the Editorial Committee of this journal for their insightful and useful comments.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Review of Social History
  • ISSN: 0020-8590
  • EISSN: 1469-512X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-review-of-social-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed