What did the white man find when he bought a farm in Transvaal during the early 1900s, other than trees and bushes?
*In purely economic terms it continued to pay Africans to remain independent producers on company or Crown lands. Here they intermittently paid rent and grazing fees, whereas under a labour tenancy relationship the family head or his sons were required to work for three months each year without pay. Many white farmers automatically entered into rent paying tenancies with the residents on their farms for, as one northern Transvaal chief stated, ‘when a white man buys a farm he finds trees, bushes and natives on that farm’. A farmer who did not have the capital needed to exploit his land directly would rent out one section and reserve another part for his labour tenants. The persistence of ‘Kaffir farming’ in the northern Transvaal almost two decades after the passage of the Natives Land Act implies that labour tenancy agreements continued to favour African workers. If the latter felt that the terms of their tenancies were turning against them, they would frequently desert their employers by moving to rented land. They also exercised the more radical alternative of moving on to government land, reserves or mission farms, or of purchasing farms within scheduled areas.