«CHAPTER TWO PEASANT PRODUCTION AND DIFFERENTIATION: THE SANYATI HINTERLAND (1939 – 1964) INTRODUCTION A cursory look at Sanyati communal lands in ...»
In the first years of settlement these people grew crops but they were constrained by distance to the market. Under the circumstances, they were compelled to market their produce through African middlemen or trader-producers. 294 However, the procedure for one to be a trader-producer was made tedious by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). One had to formally apply to the Native Commissioner of the district in which one wished to be registered. The NC would provide the necessary application form and arrange an “educational test [interview]” for the would-be applicant. One of the most stringent conditions set by the Secretary for the GMB was that: “You are not permitted to buy, as a Trader-Producer, any maize or grain until you receive a Registration Certificate from this office.” 295 Thus, Jaison of Karoi had to abide by these regulations in order to get a certificate and commence his trade in Sanyati. Invariably, it took long to procure this document.
By the mid-1950s Sanyati’s agricultural productivity far exceeded that of the settlement years culminating in the staging of the inaugural Agricultural Show in 1955 which was presided over by NC Staunton, better known by the locals as NC Msana. 296 Peasant exhibition stands revealed the amount of development that had taken place in this sector Some indigenous people from both Sanyati and Gokwe resisted the introduction of cotton because it was not an edible crop and it did not provide any insurance against hunger.
NAZ, MF 557: Mashonaland South Province: Gatooma District (Ministry of Internal Affairs), 7.
Trevor V. Ncube in “Peasant Production and Marketing of Grain Crops in Zimbabwe 1890-1986: An Overview,” Henderson Seminar Paper (72), 1987 has produced a more comprehensive analysis of the operations of trader-producers in the country.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 22867, Location 18.5.3R, File: Cancelled Leases: Sanyati:
Ngezi, Warnings Re: Buildings, pp. Secretary, Grain Marketing Board, Causeway, Salisbury to Native Jaison (X 8546 Urungwe, Madiro Stores, Karoi, 18th January 1954.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158086, Location C19.6.7F, File: DC’s File, District Information 1961-1971, Includes Programme of Events 1890 to 1961, Calendar of Events: Sanyati TTL.
over a few years. Individual Madherukas’ presentations attracted official attention. A sharp contrast could easily be drawn between the quality of their produce and that of the Shangwe, attesting to the differential crop and animal husbandry skills the two groups possessed. The Gatooma-Hartley Agricultural Show which was held on the 22nd and 23rd August 1958 further confirmed this agricultural developmental trend. At the invitation of the Gatooma-Hartley Show Society, the office of the NC Gatooma in co-operation with the Native Commisssioner, Hartley, put on a display at this Show that advertised the splendid performance of Sanyati agriculture as well as other regions. Items on display at the show included specimens of maize, mhunga, rapoko, groundnuts and other crops grown in the Sanyati, Ngezi and Mondoro “Reserves.” These were shown together with articles of sewing, handwork, carpentry, tinware and ornaments from these areas. The display was mainly illustrative and informative. As far as the NC Gatooma was concerned: “Together with a series of photographs showing all aspects of agricultural and development work in Native Areas and Reserves these [specimens] made an attractive and interesting stand” and consequently he thought that this item merited publication in the farmers magazine called The Harvester. 297 At these Agricultural Shows where the adjudicators mainly judged the field crops and cattle, the presence of the broadcasting and film units helped to mark an “auspicious occasion.” According to NC Barlow, the Show was primarily an agricultural affair in which Agricultural Demonstrators played the main role and school sports were merely incidental. The LDO only attended in an advisory capacity. Agricultural Shows encouraged competition among farmers. At these Shows farmers exhibited their cattle and crops and outstanding performers became recipients of a wide range of prizes canvassed by the LDO, Ronald R. Jack. 298 The prizes which included scotch carts, ploughs, harrows and fertilisers, among others, were donated by corporate stakeholder companies like Windmill, the Zimbabwe Farmers Co-operative (ZFC), Pfizer and Rhodia (the biggest fertiliser producing company at that time). 299 In addition to Agricultural Shows, “Field Days” marked an important occasion for the peasants to exhibit their knowledge and skills of farming. Field Days were hosted to show an exemplary farmer – one who had adopted agricultural methods well on his field from the demonstration plot. 300 More importantly, after establishing demonstration plots under the close supervision of specialist advisors, these events were held in order to advertise the success of a crop (e.g. cotton) to the farming population at large in the district. For the Madheruka, Agricultural Field Days provided an opportunity to NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 22867,Location 18.5.3R, File: AGR 2 - Agricultural Shows (1957-1958), G. A. Barlow (NC Gatooma) to the Chief Information Officer, Causeway, Salisbury, 28th August, 1958.
LDOs were responsible, inter alia, for pegging dams, weirs and instructed the building of contours. As liason officers between the DC’s office and grassroot, they designed and supervised agricultural activities.
They carried out agricultural and livestock demonstration, which included supplying demonstration plot inputs e.g., seed, fertiliser, pesticides etc. On the whole, they were involved in monitoring developmental progress on the ground.
Tarisai E. Chikombingo, (Department of Agricultural Research and Extension/AREX Supervisor), Personal Interview, AREX Sanyati, 19th October 2004.
Chikombingo, Personal Interview.
acknowledge and publicise the model of “development” that these “immigrants” thought of themselves as having imported. In recognition of their social standing, Chiefs Wozhele and Neuso were invited to these Agricultural Shows and Field Days in ex-officio capacity.
Centralisation in Sanyati:-
Centralisation was introduced to deal with population pressure. In a Circular Minute No.
309 of 1952 by the Director of Native Agriculture, R. M. Davies, to all the Provincial Agriculturists (for Northern Mashonaland, Matabeleland, Midlands, Southern Mashonaland and Manicaland), it was stated that there were considerable increases in population in many already overpopulated “Reserves.” It was also noted that the arablegrazing ratio in overpopulated “Reserves” was unbalanced. It followed, therefore, that if more taxpayers were given new lands then the situation would be further aggravated. On the other hand, if additional land was cultivated (madiro) it meant that the original centralised blocks were extended and new land was cultivated which was unsuitable. 301 The NC was empowered to prohibit the cultivation of any new lands in cases where all the suitable arable land had already been occupied. According to the Director “if there is not strict control then when the Native Land Husbandry Act comes to be applied to a particular Reserve a very embarrassing situation will arise. In terms of the Act every native who is cultivating land at the date of proclamation must be granted a farming right for land in that Reserve.” 302 What was more worrying to the Administration was that, in reality, Africans were extending their cultivations outside the original demarcated lands [madiro] 303 especially above and below the contours, on stream banks, grass strips, vleis and even into streambeds. As a result, the Director observed that “The whole value of centralisation is nullified if there is not vigilance and control.” He added, “It is the duty of Demonstrators and Land Development Officers to report any unauthorised encroachments to the Native Commissioner who can take effective action.” 304 However, encroachments occurred but they were hidden from official view as a depleted staff of only two Demonstrators for the whole Sanyati Reserve was insufficient to ensure adequate control.
In Sanyati, centralisation which commenced in 1950 was completed in 1953 with an estimated arable area under cultivation of 4 576 (at 8 acres average per household) and an NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, “Circular No.309, Addendum ‘C’, 1952: Centralisation and Individual Allocation of Arable Land in Reserves and Special Native Areas,” R. M. Davies (Director of Native Agiculture) to all Provincial Agriculturists, 16th February, 1953, 1.
Madiro was the practice of grabbing land by land-hungry peasants wherever it was available irrespective of whether it was in restricted areas e.g. grazing lots or not. In short this can be described as “freedom ploughing” i.e. ploughing anywhere one wished regardless of NLHA regulations.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, “Circular No.309, Addendum ‘C’, 1952: Centralisation and Individual Allocation of Arable Land in Reserves and Special Native Areas,” R. M. Davies (Director of Native Agriculture) to all Provincial Agriculturists, 16th February, 1953, 1.
estimated arable area of 20 000 acres which was not yet under cultivation. 305 An estimated number of 572 cultivators were allocated land individually. There was no block allocation in 1953. New or abandoned lands were authorised by the ANC Gatooma and allocated by the LDO. 306 It was noted by the ANC that 1 500 acres comprised flat land and required no protection. 700 acres required contour ridging and the balance required contour grass strips. 307 In the ANC Gatooma’s response to a questionnaire on the NLHA sent by the Administrative Officer, Land Husbandry Act, in the events leading to the implementation of the Act in Sanyati, it was noted that centralisation had been satisfactorily carried out by June 1954 “with minor adjustments in hand” and buffer stripping was about to be started. 308 A census conducted in the “Reserve” in 1954 revealed that there was an estimated 850 landholders or stockowners cultivating an estimated 6 800 acres (8 acres standard right). 309 After successfully overseeing the completion of centralisation, the ANC believed that the NLHA should be implemented within the next five years and not later. The reason he advanced for this was that “Many Natives were settled in this area [Sanyati] and the limiting factor is water. [And] with very good organization the settlement can be kept well in hand before harm is done.” 310 At that time, there was one LDO, one Community Demonstrator and three Agricultural Demonstrators to spearhead or pioneer the implementation of the Act. According to the ANC, the Act had to be
implemented with haste:
Later developments as will be demonstrated below proved that this hope was presumptuous.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, “CNC Circular No. 309, Addendum ‘C’, 1952: Centralisation and Individual Allocation of Arable Land in Reserves and Special Native Areas,” ANC Gatooma to the Provincial Agriculturist, Causeway, 1st May, 1953.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158086, Location C19.6.7F, File: DC’s File, District Information 1961-1971, Includes Programme of Events 1890 to 1961, “Implementation of Parts II and III of the Native Land Husbandry Act, 1951 to Native Reserves and Special Native Areas: Questionnaire A Sanyati Native Reserve,” W. von Memerty (Administrative Officer, Land Husbandry Act - Department of Native Economic Development, Causeway) to the ANC Gatooma, 9th and 18th June, 1954, 1.
Visit to Sanyati “Reserve” (1956):-
After his visit, it was believed by the Land Development Officer (Land Husbandry), R. R.
Jack, that the implementation of the Land Husbandry Act would not be difficult in Sanyati “Reserve.” The ANC Gatooma was advised to apply for Proclamation as soon as possible so that the LDO would be able to complete his Initial Survey before going on leave in September . 312 The use of logs for the demarcation of lands was obviously unsuitable as these were so easily moved and were also subject to termite attack. A system of earth banks was worked out to demarcate the ends and sides of holdings as well as the grass strips between each area block. 313 According to the NC Gatooma, G. A. Barlow, land rights were not given in Sanyati “Reserve” under the Land Husbandry Act to people who were not ploughing land in 1956 [when the Act was implemented] and those under the age of 21 were not eligible to apply for land rights under the Act. 314 The seeds of future generational conflict seemed to have been sown at this stage as young land aspirants were deprived of land at a time when chiefs and their entourage (including their offspring) frequently flexed their social muscle to obtain land.