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Britain, Northern Rhodesia and the First World War: by Edmund James Yorke

By Edmund James Yorke

An insightful account of the devastating impression of the nice struggle, upon the already fragile British colonial African kingdom of Northern Rhodesia. Deploying huge archival and infrequent proof from surviving African veterans, it investigates African resistance at present.

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Will be in chaos [ . . ] It is our settled policy to administer Barotseland through native authorities and not to supplant them [ . . 31 By 1908 the duties of chiefs and headmen had been legally delineated under the High Commissioner’s Notice for North Western Rhodesia No. 68, and the King’s Regulations of 12 December 1908 which applied to north-eastern Rhodesia. 10 Britain, Northern Rhodesia and the First World War The political bargain struck between the Lozi leadership and the BSAC was, however, in many senses unprecedented.

94 The grain- and cattle-rich Tonga and Ila of the Kafue and Batoka Districts, for instance, soon realised the opportunities presented by both an expanding local market and the Katanga market. Every harvest-time swarms of traders, generally ‘low Dutch’ set up temporary stores in these areas often denuding the immediate area of surplus grain. One Magoye official thus explained the astonishing seasonal proliferation of trading stores in his district, totalling forty-two: It must not be thought that the large numbers of stores are any indication of the present trade activity in the district.

As one 1914 Circular asserted, ‘the principle of exempting Messengers and Mailmen is quite wrong. ’62 In other ways, the economic position of boma employees came under attack. Messenger pay, a large item in boma expenditure, was rarely increased and often The Structural Weaknesses of Colonial Control 17 even reduced as part of the pre-war economy drive. ’63 It was possibly relatively poor remuneration combined with the greater responsibility accorded to these ‘primary collaborators’ in many areas where the white staff levels remained deficient, that accounted for the frequent occurrences of abuse of power, particularly by Messengers.

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