Crisis and catharsis in the development of capitalism in South African agriculture

Keegan, Timothy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The image of the countryside in South African historiography has changed significantly in recent years. Earlier writers like C.W. de Kiewiet and W.M. MacMillan stressed the backwardness arid stagnation of the South African countryside. … More recent writers, faced with very changed circumstances, have stressed, firstly, the initial success of black tenant commercial production; and secondly the vigour and strength of white agriculture, the rapidity of its development under the auspices of a modern, industrial state, and the "brutality of the suppression of the once prosperous "black rural economy. … This paper, then, is concerned on one level to examine the complex relationship between state action on the one hand, and social reality on the other, in the transformation of the countryside in early industrial South Africa. The specific focus of this paper in this respect in on the 1913 Natives Land Act, the most closely studied law in South Africa's history and historiography. The study focuses on the white-settled rural hinterland of the Witwatersrand, the industrial hub of southern Africa, incorporating the northern and eastern Orange Free State and the southernmost districts of the Transvaal.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented October 1984
Agriculture. Economic aspects. South Africa