Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis in the Colonies: The Interwar Politics of Race, Culture, and Multiracial Legal Status in British Africa

Abstract

In April 1929, an unremarkable man—a local entrepreneur and defendant in a minor lawsuit—entered the High Court of Nyasaland (contemporary Malawi) and made a remarkable gesture. The son of an Indian immigrant and an African woman, Suleman Abdul Karim declared himself a “non-native” and that he should consequently be tried as such. The lawsuit brought against him concerned the ownership of a Ford truck for which he had failed to complete payment. Approximately ten months earlier on June 28, 1928, Ernest Carr of Blantyre, Nyasaland—a local auctioneer and businessman who frequently ran advertisements in The Nyasaland Times during the 1920s—had sold the Ford to Karim with a written agreement that it would be paid for with £30 as a down payment, £20 on July 31, 1928, with the remaining £50 to be paid in monthly installments of £10 starting August 31, 1928. All told, this business transaction was intended to be resolved expeditiously, with its completion by the new year of 1929. However, the minor expectation that this contract had promised was not fulfilled. Two payments were made, an initial one on the day of sale for £30 and a second several months later on November 16, this time for £8. Karim defaulted on the remaining amount. Furthermore, he failed to make an insurance premium payment of £10 to the African Guarantee and Indemnity Co. Ltd., for which Carr was a local agent. Despite these defaults, Karim had not returned the Ford. Consequently, after several more months elapsed, a claim against Karim came before the High Court on April 11, 1929.

Copyright
Corresponding author
cjlee1@email.unc.edu
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Ariela J. Gross , What Blood Won't Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008)

Thomas Spear , “Neo-Traditionalism and the Limits of Invention in British Colonial Africa,” Journal of African History 44 (2003): 327

Nancy Rose Hunt , A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999)

Ann Laura Stoler , ed., Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006)

John Chesterman , “Natural-Born Subjects? Race and British Subjecthood in Australia,” Australian Journal of Politics and History 51 (2005): 3039

Damen Ward , “Constructing British Authority in Australasia: Charles Cooper and the Legal Status of Aborigines in the South Australian Supreme Court, c. 1840–60,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 34 (2006): 483504

Jonathon Glassman , “Slower than a Massacre: The Multiple Sources of Racial Thought in Colonial Africa,” American Historical Review 109 (2004): 720–54

James R. Brennan , “Blood Enemies: Exploitation and Urban Citizenship in the Nationalist Political Thought of Tanzania, 1958–75,” Journal of African History 47 (2006): 389413

Saul Dubow , Racial Segregation and the Origins of Apartheid in South Africa, 1919–36 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989)

Ivan Evans , Cultures of Violence: Lynching and Racial Killing in South Africa and the American South (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009)

Recommend this journal

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

Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×