Alexandria Digital Research Library

The rural dilemma : Bantu authorities in Mthunzini District, KwaZulu 1952-1992

Ehrenreich, Veronica
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. History
Degree Supervisor:
Stephan Miescher
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
African history, South African studies, and Ethnic studies
Department of Bantu Administration and Development
Rural development
Bantu Authorities
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

Administration of the rural areas of South Africa presented the Department of "Native" Affairs, renamed the Department of Bantu Administration and Development in 1958, with a dilemma unique from that of the urban areas. The rural dilemma faced by the Department was whether to develop the reserves for dependence or for independence. Either choice brought unwanted consequences for the apartheid regime. Ultimately the Department opted to keep the reserves poor but autonomous through implementing self-development in the reserves through the system of Bantu Authorities (BA). Poor rural blacks found themselves funding "development" through increased taxes, levies, and land dispossession.

Once the Department awakened to the Africans' refusal to embrace self-development, it stepped in with grants to set an example to "its Africans." Ultimately, the rural dilemma was not solved by the system of BA, whose finances ballooned as state grants were allocated to support "development" of the ten Bantustan governments with the goal of realizing a white South Africa. Rather, the lack of funds left for rural infrastructures put an end to the rural dilemma and to the hope for any genuine development.

While scholars like Ivan Evans, Aran MacKinnon, and Robert McIntosh have analyzed the impact of BA, little work has linked specific policies of the system of BA to the lack of infrastructure in the former reserves. This study seeks to fill the gap. This dissertation agrees that the system of BA was a cause for underdevelopment, but it argues further that it was the specific policy of self-development, or making the Africans pay for progress, that increased rural poverty.

Situated in Mthunzini District, Zululand, the study scrutinizes the ideologies and processes manufactured by the Department for negotiating consent from Africans for the system of BA. A series of case studies on acceptance, resistance, financing, and removals under the system of BA in the Mthunzini District draw on archival research and numerous interviews with former district commissioners, traditional rulers, academics, and amaZulu (common Zulus). A history of local resistance to the programs of BA, namely, forced removals, the pass system, betterment, and the labor bureau system, conspired to increase poverty in the reserves by forcing blacks to finance their "self development." Doctoral fellowships funded extended stays in the former Reserves 7A, 8, 9, and 10 of Mthunzini District, where I conducted most of my research between 2009-2014.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (508 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Veronica Ehrenreich
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