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The Flowing Eye: Water Management in the Upper Kuruman Valley, South Africa, c. 1800–1962*

  • Nancy Jacobs (a1)


This paper considers the intensification of agriculture along racial lines in South Africa by looking at the history of one spring and nine miles of river valley. It illustrates how racial conflict included struggles over nature, and how whites and blacks had different perceptions and abilities regarding its exploitation.

The ‘Eye’ of Kuruman is a large spring in a semi-arid region. Tswana herders originally used it as a water hole. Their food production system was extensive, making use of wide areas rather than increasing output in a limited area. Pastoralism was more important than agriculture. Irrigation, introduced by representatives of the London Missionary Society, was not widely practiced away from the missions until a subsistence crisis during the 1850s. It continued after the crisis passed. However, households continued to operate with the logic of extensive production, fitting irrigation into the pre-existing system.

In 1885, tne British annexed the region as part of the Crown Colony of British Bechuanaland. They demarcated African reserves at springs and in river valleys, and grazing lands were opened for white settlement. The upper Kuruman valley was designated a Crown reserve and the Eye became a town site. Downstream were Tswana households which cultivated with less security than on a native reserve. Land alienation with rinderpest devastated stock keeping and caused a widespread famine at the turn of the century, yet Tswana cultivators did not greatly intensify their use of irrigable lands. More extensive methods endured and wage labor became the basis of support.

In the twentieth century under Union government, use of the Eye intensified, and access to the valley became segregated by race. After 1918 the municipality of Kuruman operated a modern irrigation project, and in 1919, evicted black cultivators living at the Eye. Blacks continued to live and garden at Seodin, five miles downstream, but suffered water shortages which made even their casual irrigation impossible. Political expediency dictated against their pressing for water rights. In the 1940s the Department of Native Affairs drilled boreholes, but these were not sufficient to sustain cultivation. In 1962, the policy of Apartheid mandated the removal of blacks from Seodin. Despite state aid, the whites-only irrigation project never developed into a commercial success.



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1 In South Africa, a spring may be called an ‘eye’. The usage originates in the Dutch Old Testament, in for example, Deuteronomy 33: 28. Personal communication, Butler, Alan, 18 01 1994.

2 For a review of the Marxist historiography of rural South Africa, see Bradford, Helen, ‘Highways, byways, and culs-de-sac: the transition to agrarian capitalism in revisionist South African history’, in Brown, Joshua et al. (eds.), History from South Africa: Alternative Visions and Practices (Philadelphia, 1991; reprint of Radical History Review double issue 46–7, 1990), 4058. See also, Beinart, William, Delius, Peter, and Trapido, Stanley (eds.), Putting a Plough to the Ground: Accumulation and Dispossession in Rural South Africa, 1850–1930 (Johannesburg, 1986). Ironically, given the volume's title, the articles in this collection rarely discuss plowing.

3 General observations about extensive agriculture in Africa, are found in Sutton, J. E. G., ‘Irrigation and soil-conservation in African agricultural history’, J. Afr. Hist., XXV (1984), 2730.

4 Goody, Jack, Technology, Tradition and the State in Africa (Cambridge, 1971).

5 Boserup, Ester, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth (Chicago, 1965).

6 Sutton, , ‘Irrigation and soil-conservation’, 2730.

7 Adams, William and Anderson, David, ‘Irrigation before development: indigenous and induced change in agricultural water management in East Africa’, African Affairs, LXVII (1988), 519–35;Anderson, , ‘Cultivating pastoralists: ecology and economy among II Charnus of Baringo, 1840–1980’, in Johnson, Douglas H. and Anderson, David (eds.), The Ecology of Survival: Case Studies from Northeast African History (London and Boulder, CO, 1988), 241–60.

8 Wylie, Diana, ‘The changing face of hunger in Southern African history’, Past and Present, CXXII (1989), 163–9.

9 Comaroff, Jean and Comaroff, John, Of Revelation and Revolution (Chicago, 1991), 158, 202–3, 206–13;Landau, Paul, ‘When rain falls: rainmaking and community in a Tswana village, c. 1870 to recent times’, Int. J. Afr. Hist. Studies, XXV (1993), 130.

10 Fritsch, Gustav, Drei Jahre Sued-Afrika: Reiseskizzen nach Notizen des Tagebuchs Zusammengestellt (Breslau, 1868), 262, 266;Smith, Andrew, Andrew Smith's Journal of His Expedition into the Interior of South Africa, 1834–36, ed. Lye, William F. (Cape Town, 1975), 183–4.

11 Campbell, John, Travels in South Africa, Undertaken at the Request of the London Missionary Society: Being a Narrative of a Second Journey into the Interior of that Country (2 vols.) (London, 1822; reprinted New York, 1967), i, 113; W.H.C. [Henry] Lichtenstein, , About the Bechuanas, trans, and ed. Spohr, O. H. (Cape Town, 1973), 66.

12 Campbell, John, Travels in South Africa Undertaken at the Request of the Missionary Society (London, 1813; reprinted Cape Town, 1974), 279;Campbell, , Travels … A Second Journey, ii, 207;Smith, Andrew, The Diary of Dr. Andrew Smith, Director of the Expedition for Exploring Central Africa, 1834–36, ed. Kirby, Percival R. (2 vols.) (Cape Town, 1939), i, 295. Some Tswana groups may have irrigated dagga, or marijuana, but people in Kuruman did not grow this crop; Mackenzie, John, ‘Bechuanaland, with some remarks on Mashonaland and Matabeleland’, Scottish Geographical Magazine (1887), 298.

13 The settlement at Ga-Tlhose suffered a reduced water supply until the 1860s, after Moffat suggested they clean the spring. Cape Archives Depot [hereafter CAD] British Bechuanaland Land Commission [hereafter BBLC], 31, part 1, letter from Holele Molete of Gatlhose, n.d.

14 Moffat, Robert, Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa (London, 1842), 374;Campbell, , Travels, 279.

15 Campbell, , Travels, 236; on Tlhaping movements see Shillington, Kevin, The Colonisation of the Southern Tswana (Johannesburg, 1986), 1415.

16 For example, a children's book on Kuruman missionary work was titled Adventures of a Missionary, or Rivers of Water in a Dry Place (New York, n.d.; reprinted Miami, 1969). See also Comaroff and Comaroff, Of Revelation.

17 The most fervent advocate of irrigation was John Mackenzie. Mackenzie, , Ten Years North of the Orange River (Edinburgh, 1871; reprinted London, 1971), 89;Mackenzie, , Austral Africa: Ruling It Or Losing It (2 vols.) (London, 1887), i, 77–8, 98–9.

18 Moffat, Robert and Moffat, Mary, Apprenticeship at Kuruman: Journals and Letters of Robert and Mary Moffat 1820–1828, ed. Schapera, Isaac (London, 1951), 22;Moffat, , Missionary Labours, 285–6; School of Oriental and African Studies, London, Council for World Mission Archive, London Missionary Society, Africa South, Incoming Letters [hereafter LMS] Box 9, Robert Hamilton, 17 Feb. 1823.

19 Moffat, and Moffat, , Apprenticeship, 292.

20 LMS Box 14, 1834 Annual Schedule of Returns; Backhouse, James, A Narrative of a Visit to the Mauritius and South Africa (London, 1844), 455;Gordon, Roualeyn Cumming, A Hunter's Life in South Africa (London, 1857; reprinted Bulawayo, 1980), 225.

21 LMS Box 11, Moffat, , 12 09 1828; LMS Box 13, Moffat, , 30 09 1833; LMS Box 20, Hamilton, , Moffat, and Ashton, , 12 10 1844. For a detailed description of irrigation works see LMS Box 45, Roger Price, 23 Oct. 1888.

22 LMS Box 34 Brown, John, 2 02 1866.

23 Moffat, Robert Unwin, John Smith Moffat (London, 1921; reprinted New York, 1969), 71.

24 Shillington, , Southern Tswana, 1920.

25 The Comaroffs discuss the connection between the chief, his power and centralized settlement patterns, Of Revelation, 146–7.

26 LMS Box 27, Moffat, , 15 01 1857; LMS Box 33, Moffat, II Jan. 1864. Even the Arends family, who settled at the Eye in the 1820s still earned a living by hunting and trading as late as the 1870s. LMS Box 14, Moffat, , 7 04 1828;Mackenzie, , Austral Africa, ii, 111–14; LMS Box 38, Moffat, John Smith, 23 03 1876.

27 LMS Box 14, Moffat, , 7 04 1828. Regarding the Arends in the 1870s, see below.

28 Tswana communities closer to Kimberley did sell food there. LMS Box 37, Ashton, , 26 11 1872; LMS Box 38, Ashton, , 9 02 1876; Public Records Office [hereafter PRO] Colonial Office Confidential Print Series [hereafter CO] 879/8 No. 1, Ford, J. H. to Orphen, F. H. S., 5 07 1873;Drummond, J. H., ‘Rural land use and agricultural production in Dinokana village, Bophuthatswana’, Geojournal, XXII (1990), 338–40.

29 LMS Box 42, Wookey, Alfred, ‘Review of South Bechuanaland, part II’, 11 07 1884. Regarding wood sales in the northern Cape, see Shillington, , Southern Tswana, 102–6, 137–8. Wookey reported 80 wagons at the annual Kuruman church meeting, indicating the extent of the trade, LMS Box 42, 12 Jan. 1883.

30 Mackenzie, , Ten Years, 92. Missionaries report that in the earliest years, ‘impossible things’ included trying to run water uphill. Philip, John, Researches in South Africa (2 vols.) (London, 1828; reprinted New York, 1969), ii. 113;Livingstone, David, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (London, 1857; reprinted Freeport, NY, 1972), 125.

31 Mackenzie, , Ten Years, 70.

32 Brown, John, ‘The Bechuana Tribes’, Cape Monthly Magazine, 07 1875, 12.

33 On the history of imperialism and colonialism in Bechuanaland: Shillington, Southern Tswana; Dachs, Anthony, ‘Missionary imperialism in Bechuanaland’, J. Afr. Hist. XIII (1972), 647–58;Hall, Kenneth, ‘British Bechuanaland: the price of protection’, Int. J. Afr. Hist. Studies, VI (1973), 183–97;Holmberg, Ake, African Tribes and European Agencies (Goteborg, 1966);Agar-Hamilton, J. A. I., The Road to the North (London, 1937).

34 British Parliamentary Papers, ‘Report of the Commissioners appointed to determine land claims and to effect a land settlement in British Bechuanaland’, C. 4889 (1886), 34.

35 This imperial predilection to respect indigenous cultivation more than other forms of land use had precedent in the history of European settlement in the new world. Regarding the philosophical debate over the relative land rights of European cultivators and indigenous American foragers, see Washburn, Wilcomb, Red Man's Land- White Man's Law (New York, 1971), 38, 143, 253.

36 Giliomee, Hermann, ‘Processes in the development of the Southern African frontier’, in Lamar, Howard and Thompson, Leonard (eds.), The Frontier in History: North America and Southern Africa Compared (New Haven, 1981), 76119. Specifically regarding hunting, see Mackenzie, John, Empire of Nature (Manchester, 1988), 86119.

37 The land settlement was disastrous for the southern Tswana economy: Shillington, , Southern Tswana, 174–5 and Agar-Hamilton, , Road to the North, 434–5.

38 Snyman, P. H. R., Kuruman: Vervloe Pad na Afrika (Pretoria, 1992), 52.

39 Regarding a struggle for ownership of the Eye beginning in the 1870s between fellow missionaries, the Arends family who lived near the Eye, and the speculator J. G. Donovan, see LMS Box 38, Mackenzie, , 8 12 1876; LMS Box 40, Moffat, J. S., 23 07 1880; LMS Box 43, Ashton, , 24 01 1885; CAD BBLC, 22, Claim number 67 of LMS to Gasegonyana; Donovan Family Papers, held by Penny Harris, Cape Town, Donovan, J. G. to Native Affairs Secretary, 8 11 1915.

40 Mackenzie, , Austral Africa, ii, 111–14; LMS Box 38, Moffat, J. S., 23 03 1876; LMS Box 38, Mackenzie, , 8 12 1876; LMS Box 39, Mackenzie, , 21 11 1878; LMS Box 40, Moffat, J. S., 23 07 1880; LMS Box 43, Ashton, , 24 01 1885; CAD BBLC, 22, Claim number 67 of LMS to Gasegonyana.

41 British Parliamentary Papers, C. 4889, 95–6; CAD BCC, 116, Surveyor General to Colonial Secretary, 17 12 1895.

42 Cape Parliamentary Papers [hereafter CPP] G 19 – '97 Blue Book on Native Affairs, ‘Kuruman, Inspector of Native Reserves Annual Report, 1896’, 68.

43 CAD CO, 879/29, ‘British Bechuanaland, Report of the Acting Administrator for the year ended 30th September 1888’, 70.

44 Bryden, H. A., Gun and Camera in Southern Africa (Prescott AZ, 1988; reprinted London, 1893), 1516.

45 LMS Box 45, Price, 23 10 1888;Smith, E. W., Great Lion of Bechuanaland: The Life and Times of Roger Price, Missionary (London, 1957), 318–19; LMS Box 50, Price, 21 Mar. 1893. LMS Box 52, Price, 31 Jan.-5 Feb. 1891; National Archives of Zimbabwe, John Smith Moffat papers MO 1/1/6, John Brown to John Smith Moffat, 10 Sep. 1897. Moffat Mission Trust Uncatalogued Papers [hereafter MMT], Register of Lands Belonging to the London Missionary Society, Kuruman, 1894–1901.

46 CAD BCC, 116, Resident Magistrate to Colonial Secretary, 29 10 1894; CAD BCC, 116, report on Crown Reserve, Matthews Commission, 8 03 1895.

47 The Langeberg, home to the Tlharo chiefdom, was an anomaly among the reserves of British Bechuanaland. It was not demarcated by the 1886 land commission, was by far the largest reserve in the district of Kuruman, and had virtually no irrigation.

48 CPP G 42 – '98, 66. Mortality rates among Kuruman herds are unrecorded. A few small reserves seem to have escaped infection, but losses in stricken areas probably exceeded 90 per cent. A general account of rinderpest is found in CPP G 33 – '97, Special Report on Rinderpest in South Africa by the Colonial Veterinary Surgeon, March 1896–Feburary 1897. On the Langeberg War see Shillington, , Southern Tswana, 215–40;Saker, Harry and Aldridge, J., ‘The origins of the Langeberg rebellion’, J. Afr. Hist. XII (1971), 299317.

49 CPP G 72 – '98, Rinderpest Statistics for the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope. This statistic is for the financial district of Vryburg, which included Kuruman.

50 CPP G 42 – '98, Blue Book for Native Affairs, 67; South African Archives Depot [hereafter SAD] Native Affairs Series [hereafter NTS] 4368 268/313, Surveyor General to Prime Minister, 13 09 1896; CAD Land Office Series [hereafter LND] 1/659, ‘Hire of plots of ground by natives in Kuruman Crown Reserve, Vryburg Division’, various correspondence; SAD NTS 4368 268/313, Resident Magistrate to Native Affairs Department, 6 12 1901; CPP G 25 – 1902, Blue Book on Native Affairs, 30; LMS Box 59, Brown, J. Tom, 9 07 1900.

51 CAD LND 1/730, Secretary for Public Works to Under Secretary for Agriculture, 2 02 1900; CPP G 25 – 1902, 30.

52 CAD Kuruman Resident Magistrate Series [hereafter 1/KMN] 10/2, annual report, Resident Magistrate, 4 01 1898.

53 CPP G 19 – '97, 68; CPP G 25 – 1902, 30.

54 Anderson, , ‘Cultivating pastoralists’, 242.

55 CAD 1/KMN 10/3, Resident Magistrate to Colonial Under Secretary, 15 02 1899.

56 South African Native Affairs Commission, vol. 4, Minutes of Evidence, Testimony of Sol Plaatje, 14 09 1804, 265–6.

57 CAD NA 247, monthly report for July 1898; CAD 1/KMN 10/2, Resident Magistrate annual report for 1897, 4 Jan. 1898.

58 LMS Box 55, Brown, J. Tom, 20 06 1898; CAD LND 1/1730, Secretary for Public Works to Secretary for Agriculture, 2 Feb. 1900.

59 SAD Land Office Series [hereafter LND] 1/710, Surveyor General to Under Secretary of Agriculture, 7 Dec. 1908.

60 CAD 1/KMN to/4, Resident Magistrate to Law Department Secretary, 29 June 1903. CAD LND 1/730, Native Affairs Assistant Secretary to Under Secretary for Agriculture, 21 Jan. 1902.

61 LMS Box 64, Brown, J. Tom, 4 04 1904 and 10 08 1904; CAD Public Works Department [hereafter PWD] 1/5–28 644 Annexure J, n.d. 1905; SAD LND 1/710, Surveyor General to Under Secretary for Agriculture, 7 Dec. 1908; SAD NTS 4368 268/313, Report on the Kuruman Crown Reserve, M. C. Vos, 26 Aug. 1911; CAD Irrigation Department Series [hereafter IRR], 801/08, map ‘Kuruman River Irrigation’, 2 Feb. 1917; Snyman, , Kuruman, 87–18.

62 On Cape location laws see Bundy, Colin, The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry (Berkeley, 1979), 134–7. Bundy sees the 1909 law as a precursor to the 1913 Natives Land Act. See also Lacey, Marian, Working for Boroko: The Origins of a Coercive Labour System (Johannesburg, 1981), 123–4.

63 LMS Box 139, Brown, J. Tom, 14 03 1910 and 1 09 1910; LMS Box 140, Brown, J. Tom, 10 10 1910.

64 SAD NTS 4368 268/313, M. C. Vos, 26 Aug. 1911.

65 Snyman, , Kuruman, 100–1, 106.

66 MMT Copy of Memorandum of Agreement between the London Missionary Society and the municipal council of Kuruman.

67 SAD NTS 4638 268/313, Director of Irrigation to Native Affairs Secretary, 19 June 1924.

68 Northern News (Vryburg) ‘Kuruman Kuttings’, 6 02 1918 and 3 08 1920;Snyman, , Kuruman, 149.

69 Maynard Swanson has discussed the role of sanitation in segregationist thinking in ‘The sanitation syndrome: bubonic plague and urban Native policy in the Cape Colony, 1900–09’, J. Afr. Hist., XVIII (1977), 387410. On the history of segregation in the town of Kuruman, and concerning the history of Dikgweng, a small settlement at a spring on the Kuruman Crown Reserve, whose residents were removed in 1953, see Snyman, , Kuruman, 100, 150–1, 154–6, 162, 198.

70 CAD Provincial Administration [hereafter PAS] 2/727/L52 C4, 22 Feb. 1918, M. C. Vos to Kuruman municipality.

71 SAD NTS 4368 268/313, M. C. Vos, 26 Aug. 1911; see also SAD NTS 6318 23/218, Superintendent of Natives, Kuruman, to Native Commissioner, Kuruman, 10 04 1928.

72 SAD NTS 7752 22/335, Resident Magistrate to Native Affairs Secretary, 2 Oct. 1924. For other disparaging descriptions of black farmers' cultivation methods, see SAD NTS 4368 268/313, report on the Kuruman Crown Reserve by M. C. Vos, 26 Aug. 1911; SAD NTS 6318 23/218, Superintendent of Natives, Kuruman to Native Commissioner, Kuruman, 10 Apr. 1928.

73 Snyman, P. H. R., ‘Safety and health in the northern Cape blue asbestos belt’, Historia, XXXIII (1988), 3152 and ‘The northern Cape manganese fields: development and effect on the surrounding agrarian community, 1922–1948’, South African Journal of Economic History, III (1988), 7188.

74 SAD NTS 7930 159/330, senior agricultural officer northern areas to deputy director of irrigation, 16 July 1937.

75 SAD NTS 7351 176/327, monthly report, Hensley, A. E., Agricultural Extension Officer, 06 1935; SAD NTS 1827 305/327, trip report, Deputy Director of Native Agriculture, trip number 44, western areas, winter 1950; CAD Kuruman Native Affairs Commissioner Series [hereafter 2/KMN] 54 8/20/3/5 1953 agricultural report.

76 SAD NTS 4368 268/313, M. C. Vos to Minister of Lands, 15 July 1921. See I Kings 21. When the Israelite King Ahab desired a beautiful vineyard, Naboth, its owner, refused to sell. Queen Jezebel arranged to have Naboth killed and Ahab then took possession.

77 MMT, M. C. Vos to A.E.Jennings, 13 July 1921. Jennings responded that his lawyer had been in favor of rejecting the settlement, because it did not provide a permanent settlement, but that Vos's assurances convinced him to sign. MMT, A. E. Jennings to M. C. Vos, 21 Sep. 1921.

78 SAD NTS 4368 268/313, M. C. Vos to Minister of Lands, 15 July 1921.

79 Ibid, undated memo to the Prime Minister (probably late 1920s). The municipality attempted to purchase the northern portion of the reserve in 1925, and the unsuccessful 1927 Natives Land (Amendment) Bill defined it as a white area. Despite these attempts to reverse Vos's decision, his line has remained the border between whites and blacks, in 1977 becoming the boundary of the homeland Bophutatsvvana, and in 1994 it divided the Northwest and Northern Cape provinces of the new South Africa.

80 An 1897 report claimed water from the Eye flowed for 40 miles downstream. CAB KMN 10/1, Annual Health Report D. G. Beare, District Surgeon of Kuruman, 16 Feb. 1897. In contrast, the missionary Brown reported that one year he had to water his garden by night. LMS Box 58, J. Tom Brown, 18 Sep. 1900.

81 CAD IRR 801/08, map, 2 Feb. 1917.

82 SAD NTS 6882 165/337, Galeboe's testimony to Native Affairs Commission, 16 May 1941. The mission he is referring to was a small portion of the original estate which the LMS retained after the sale consisting of missionary houses, the school and the church.

83 MMT, ‘Copy of Memorandum of Agreement’, 7 02 1917.

84 SAD NTS 6882 165/337, Jennings, A. E. to Superintendent of Natives, 3 12 1923;ibid.Jennings, A. E. to Magistrate, 7 01 1924;ibid.Clerk, Town to Magistrate, 4 03 1924.

85 Ibid., attorney J. Herbst to Minister of Lands, 3 July 1925.

86 SAD NTS 4638 268/3/3, Director of Irrigation to Native Affairs Secretary, 19 June 1924.

87 SAD NTS 6882 165/337, Jennings to Superintendent of Natives, 1 Sep. 1924.

88 Ibid. Director of Irrigation to Native Affairs Secretary, 30 Jan. 1925; ibid. Native Affairs Secretary to Secretary of Lands, 19 Mar. 1925; ibid, report from Minister of Lands to the Lands Department, 29 Mar. 1925.

89 Ibid, report by Native Affairs Acting Under Secretary, 27 May 1931. CAD PAS 2/747 Ls2 C4, Cape Provincial Secretary to Town Clerk, 23 June 1924.

90 SAD NTS 6882 165/337, Native Affairs Secretary to Town Clerk, 18 Oct. 1939.

91 MMT 1939 report for Kuruman to LMS directors by H. C. Thompson; SAD NTS 6882 165/337, H. C. Thompson to S. J. Botha, 25 Jan. 1940.

92 SAD NTS 6882 165/337, Native Commissioner, Northern Areas to Native Affairs Secretary, 26 Mar. 1940.

93 Ibid. Galeboe's testimony to Native Affairs Commission, 16 May 1941.

94 SAD NTS 1945 256/278, annual agricultural report, 20 June 1947; SAD NTS 6882 165/337, aantekenige van bespreking tussen di naturelle-sake-kommissie en die munisipaliteit van Kuruman, Testimony of P. J. Robinson of Landbou-Unie, 9 Dec. 1948.

95 Interview with van Wyk, Eddie, 5 05 1994.

96 SAD NTS 6882 165/337, various correspondence on Seodin boreholes, 1941–8.

97 SAD NTS 7846 36/336, Kuruman Native Commissioner to Native Affairs Secretary, 4 Apr. 1942; CAD 2/KMN 54 8/20/2, Additional Native Commissioner to Chief Native Commissioner, Western Areas, 20 May 1948; CAD 2 KMN 54 8/20/3, report by Tussentydse Komitee Besproeiingskema, Kuruman Distrik, 21 Oct. 1951.

98 Breutz, P. L., The Tribes of the Kuruman and Postmasburg District, Republic of South Africa, Department of Bantu Administration and Development Ethnological Publications no. 49 (Pretoria, 1963), 64.

99 Snyman, , Kuruman, 110, 230.

100 Interview with Riekert, Don, 5 05 1994;Snyman, , Kuruman, 198–9.

101 Interview with Mr. Boihang Boihang at his home in Seodin-Lareng, , Kuruman district, 14 06 1991.Snyman, , Kuruman, 198.

102 The original hydraulic society thesis is found in Wittfogel, Karl, Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power (New Haven, 1957). For an environmentally aware treatment see Worster, , Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity and the Growth of the American West (New York, 1985).

103 Shillington, Kevin, ‘Irrigation, agriculture and the State: the Harts Valley in historical perspective’, in Beinart, , Delius, and Trapido, , Putting a Plough to the Ground, 311–35.

104 Shillington, , ‘Irrigation, Agriculture and the State’, 328–31.

* Research for this paper was conducted with support from a Fulbright–Hays dissertation grant. It has benefited from criticisms from Phyllis Martin, Tom Johnson and Alan Butler.

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The Flowing Eye: Water Management in the Upper Kuruman Valley, South Africa, c. 1800–1962*

  • Nancy Jacobs (a1)


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