Graduate School
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch

Dr Godfrey Hove

Home country: Zimbabwe

Year of enrolment: 2012

Graduation date: March 2015

Department:  History

Supervisor: Prof Sandra Swart

Dissertation title: The state, farmers and dairy farming in colonial Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia), c.1980-1951

Abstract: This thesis uses dairy farming in colonial Zimbabwe/Southern Rhodesia as a lens to explore the intersection of economic, social and environmental factors in colonial agriculture from the 1890s until 1951, when a new regulatory framework was introduced for the industry. It examines the complex and fluid interactions between the colonial state and farmers (both white and black), and the manner in which these interactions shaped and reshaped policy within the context of the local political economy and the changing global economic conditions. It examines the competing interests of the colonial state and farmers, and how these tensions played out in the formulation and implementation of dairy development policy over time. This thesis demonstrates that these contestations profoundly affected the trajectory of an industry that started as a mere side-line to the beef industry until it had become a central industry in Southern Rhodesia's agricultural economy by the late 1940s. Thus, besides filling a historiographical gap in existing studies of Southern Rhodesia's agricultural economy, the thesis engages in broader historiographical conversations about settler colonial agricultural policy and the role of the state and farmers in commercial agriculture. Given the fractured nature of colonial administration in Southern Rhodesia, this study also discusses conflicts among government officials. It demonstrates how these differences affected policy formulation and implementation, especially regarding African commercial dairy production. This thesis also explores the impact of a segregationist agricultural policy, particularly focusing on prejudices about the "African body" and hygiene. It shows how this shaped the character of both African and white production trends. It demonstrates that Africans were unevenly affected by settler policy, as some indigenous people continued to compete with white farmers at a time when existing regulations were intended to exclude them from the colonial dairy industry. It argues that although dairy farming had grown to be a strong white-dominated industry by 1951, the history of dairy farming during the period under review was characterised by contestations between the state and both white and African farmers.

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