‘Kaffir farming’ wealthy white landlords use of black

‘Kaffir farming’ wealthy white landlords use of black farmers, to make profit, changing cash rentals or sharecrop compensation, not only the income, but the black farmer was tilling the soil,

*………………. Between 1908 and 1910 the number of Africans in northern Transvaal locations almost doubled from 52,500 to 101,700; those living on un-surveyed Crown land dropped from 109,000 to 90,000; and those on white-owned land, although still the majority, decreased from 175,800 to 168,000.

*A common African reaction to the anti-squatter laws and the increasingly overcrowded locations was for families to club together and purchase land, initially held in ‘trust’ but after 1905 in freehold. Between 1910 and 1912 Africans in the northern Transvaal purchased more than 16,000 morgen of land worth over £15,000 and by 1913 they held a total of 71,500 morgen in freehold.

*The Natives Land Act of that year was a compromise between mining and landed capitalist interests. It promised on the one hand to extend the rural locations as labour reserves for the mines, while on the other hand it promised, first, to provide farmers with labour, by acting against rent tenancies and, second, to prohibit Africans from owning land outside areas ‘scheduled’ for their occupation. Land bought by a combination of more than six Africans had to be purchased on a tribal basis and held by the Minister of Native Affairs for the tribe concerned. In later years, the term ‘tribe’ became a synonym for African purchasers of land in scheduled areas; as one northern Transvaal attorney stated in 1930, ‘a Tribe is a syndicate of ten to fifteen families which buys land and elects a chief and petty chief. The Land Act also encouraged labour tenancy by proposing a graduated tax, in effect an annually increasing fine, on those landowners who accepted rents from Africans in cash or kind. But this section of the act could not be implemented until sufficient land had been released to cater for those rent paying ‘squatters’ who refused to become labour tenants. For two decades after the Land Act Africans were to retain a precarious hold on their land through the rent tenancy or ‘Kaffir farming’ system.

Consider the Verdict

Soweto Tour


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