Black Mountain

Black Mountain : Land, Class & Power in the Eastern Orange Free State

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This is a remarkable chronicle of the struggles of many people - black and white - whose lives have been rooted in one district of the South African highveld over the last hundred years. Thaba Nchu (Black Mountain) was the territory of an independent African chiefdom until it ws annexed by the Orange Free State republic in 1884. By 1977, one-third had emegred as part of 'independent' Bophutswana with consequent 'inter-ethnic' antagonisms. As a result, on and adjoining piece of bare veld, there had developed the largest slum in South Africa, Botshabelo - a massive concentraion of poverty and unemployment. The sorties told by the inhabitants of the slum in 1980 led to this book. Detailed archival evidence and contemporary oral history illuminate all the important themes of the political economy of the rural highveld of South Africa from the mineral revolution of the late nineteenth century to the erosion of apartheid in the late twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 26mm | 721.21g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 24 half-tones, line drawings, index
  • 0748603441
  • 9780748603442

Table of contents

Part 1 "Dust and Ashes" - the collapse of an African polity: twilight of self-rule; trials of no ordinary kind - civil war and annexation 1880-1884; land dispositions; the aftermath - relocation, alienation, speculation. Part 2 Imperial intervention - the land settlers: scorched earth; reconstruction of the countryside; experiences of land settlement - the early years; bones of contention; towards consolidation. Part 3 Varieties of dispossession: bitter winter - the share-croppers; dismal exodus - the Samuelites; horns of a dilemma - the black landowners; one estate dismembered - the Setlogelo saga; district in depression - a cross examination. Part 4 Struggles over land: segregation - swapping the vote for the land?; fixing the released areas; selling out - black landowners and the trust; "crying for land" - the barolong progressive association. Part 5 The making of a Bantustan: the trust regime - for "betterment" or worse? "the obstinate bunch" - unrest at Seliba; the "cream of the Barolong" - an interlocked elite; epilogue - the meaning of National Development. Part 6 Rural slum - Botshabelo: displaced urbanisation; the squeeze out of "white" South Africa - case study A - Ha Rantsatsa; Kromdraai - the railway squatters; case study B - 'MaYB' versus one widow "seventh hell" - struggles over daily life; case study C - the bureaucratic nightmare; case study D - working a passage; case study E - one household through time; what sort of "integration"?. Part 7 Two farms - one hundred years: Thaba Phatshwa - African farm; from "black spots" to coloured reserve; Ngoananyana - potato kingdom; the ruinings - white and black; case study F - life in the D section. Conclusion - whose land?. Appendix - a landowner, three lawyers and a liberal.
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About Colin Murray

Colin Murray has a background in anthropology and intensive experience of field research over many years in Lesotho and the Free State (South Africa). He recently retired as Professor of African Sociology at the University of Manchester. Peter Sanders served as an administrative officer in Basutoland (now Lesotho) from 1961 to 1966. He wrote a biography of Moshoeshoe (1975) and, with Mosebi Damane, an edited translation of the praise poems of the Basotho chiefs (1974).
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