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acessibilidade

http://hdl.handle.net/10071/8734
acessibilidade
Title: Labour exploitation and the question of land rights in colonial Malawi (Nyasaland)
Authors: Sawasawa, Davemonie
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Malawi became a British Protectorate (Nyasaland) in 1891. The first people to settle in this country were a group of farmers belonging to the general group of the Bantu people. Malawi remains an agrarian nation and its people depend on agricultural production for their daily basic needs. Land is therefore considered as a fundamental natural resource on which Malawi’s economy is built. However, land has been at the centre of social, political, and economic problems in the history of the country. Looking at the continuous increasing levels of poverty in this country, I argue that land reforms and policies carried out from the colonial period to the present multiparty period have not been effective in improving the social and economic life of poor families. Property and land holding rights are some of the problems that have not been fully resolved by various regimes in Malawi. The British colonial rule supported white settlers by introducing land policies that denied natives the right to own land. This policy was more exploitative than progressive. Labourers were forced to work on the farms of the European settlers for low wages or for free (thangata – help). This problem led to the 1915 uprising. People reacted against the continued exploitation of African labourers on the estates of white settlers. Land grabbing, human and labour exploitation by white settlers did not only violate the right to own land, but also their dignity and right to development. The unjust holding of land contributed to the poverty experienced by Malawians today. The gap between the rich and the poor, and insecurity regarding food are a result of inequality in land distribution in Malawi.
Malawi became a British Protectorate (Nyasaland) in 1891. The first people to settle in this country were a group of farmers belonging to the general group of the Bantu people. Malawi remains an agrarian nation and its people depend on agricultural production for their daily basic needs. Land is therefore considered as a fundamental natural resource on which Malawi’s economy is built. However, land has been at the centre of social, political, and economic problems in the history of the country. Looking at the continuous increasing levels of poverty in this country, I argue that land reforms and policies carried out from the colonial period to the present multiparty period have not been effective in improving the social and economic life of poor families. Property and land holding rights are some of the problems that have not been fully resolved by various regimes in Malawi. The British colonial rule supported white settlers by introducing land policies that denied natives the right to own land. This policy was more exploitative than progressive. Labourers were forced to work on the farms of the European settlers for low wages or for free (thangata – help). This problem led to the 1915 uprising. People reacted against the continued exploitation of African labourers on the estates of white settlers. Land grabbing, human and labour exploitation by white settlers did not only violate the right to own land, but also their dignity and right to development. The unjust holding of land contributed to the poverty experienced by Malawians today. The gap between the rich and the poor, and insecurity regarding food are a result of inequality in land distribution in Malawi.
Peer reviewed: Sim
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10071/8734
DOI: 10.15847/cehc.prlteoe.945X019
ISBN: 978-989-98499-4-5
Appears in Collections:CEHC-CLI - Autoria de capítulos de livros internacionais

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