Article from ROAPE Volume 7 Number 18
Supply/Control/Organisation of African Labour in Rhodesia

Supply, Control and Organisation of African Labour in Rhodesia
Vol.7 No.18 (Summer 1980), pp7-28
Luke Malaba's overview of the history of African labour control and organisation from the 1930s to the 1970s highlights some of the institutional mechanisms of labour exploitation which were at the root of the whole settler colonial system and which must soon come under review by the new government. He offers a critique of the dualist work on African migrant labour but also points to some of the limits of recent ‘radical’ writings which, whilst recognizing the structural integration of the African ‘reserves’ with the settler capitalist economy, fail to break away from an overly economist conceptualisation. It is the political framework which has defined and maintained the form of migration, Malaba argues. Moreover, workers organisations themselves have divorced the political from the economic aspects of the struggle against capital. The author concludes that the consciousness of workers does not automatically result from their dialectical position in relation to the capital-owning class but needs to be aroused and directed towards the struggle for complete emancipation. The relative divorce between workers organizations and the national movements he poses as a key problem for the future.