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«CHAPTER TWO PEASANT PRODUCTION AND DIFFERENTIATION: THE SANYATI HINTERLAND (1939 – 1964) INTRODUCTION A cursory look at Sanyati communal lands in ...»

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After 1960, probably as a reaction to the peasants’ massive investment drive in cattle, the LDO, J. E. Gamble, noted the importance of building additional cattle sale pens. 342 The first cattle sales centre in the Sanyati “Reserve” with a weigh bridge had been established by Finnis shortly after March 1952. Some enterprising peasants took advantage of the sale pens to market their beasts although these were sold at very low prices. In the main, however, it appears, these sale pens were introduced to help Africans dispose of their “excess” cattle quickly. Thus, this was to complement destocking measures in an enormous way. At one of the cattle sales which commenced at 9.30AM on Monday 1st September, 1958 at the Sanyati Reserve Sale Pens, entries of about 230 head were anticipated. 343 At all these sales the prescribed method of sale was “open auction without floor price” and any person was entitled to buy although it was white ranch owners, butchery owners and middlemen of long standing who could afford to buy many beasts sold at almost “give away” price. 344 Writing to G. A. Barlow (the NC Gatooma), the ANC Gatooma, R. C. Plowden, testified in 1961 that a very common complaint by peasant farmers in Sanyati “Reserve” was: “The Government had done a lot to better the wages and working conditions of those engaged in employment in towns but that the prices of crops and cattle had not been raised sufficiently to compensate the Reserve farmer for his efforts.” 345 Even the NC Gatooma concurred that the low prices of cattle and crops were generally deplorable when he said: “A general complaint … is that prices for cattle and crops have not risen proportionately to the increases in pay that labour in towns has received.” 346 Prior to sale, cattle were graded and weighed as a guide to buyers and sellers. The NC for Gatooma, Barlow, required that: “Purchase must be for cash and a levy of 17½% of the purchase price is payable by the purchaser to the Native Development Fund [NDF]. This levy is additional to the purchase price.” 347 To realise better returns on their investments, reserve entrepreneurs often evaded official marketing 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.” NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158 077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, J. E. Gamble, Land Development Officer, Office of the Land Development Officer, Gatooma, to the NC Gatooma, 27th January 1960.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 22867, Location 18.5.3R, File: Minutes of Farmers Meetings, G. A. Barlow (NC Gatooma) to the Secretary, Gatooma Farmers’ and Stockowners’ Association, Gatooma, 27th August 1958.

Ibid.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158 077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, ANC Gatooma, R. C. Plowden, to the NC Gatooma, 23rd March 1961, 1.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, Confidential Correspondence, “Discontent: Ngezi-Mondoro Reserve,” G. A. Barlow (NC Gatooma) to the Provincial Native Commissioner, Mashonaland West, Causeway, 23rd March, 1961.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 22867, Location 18.5.3R, File: Minutes of Farmers Meetings, G. A. Barlow (NC Gatooma) to the Secretary, Gatooma Farmers’ and Stockowners’ Association, Gatooma, 27th August 1958.

channels as they indulged in side marketing their beasts to the highest bidder. They side marketed grain as well. With regard to disposal of grain, considerably more rapoko was disposed of to “natives” at the mines than to authorised traders since it appears that they obtained a better price through this method. 348 The amount disposed of in this way is impossible to assess except for the estimated total sales and income through legitimate channels and others for the 1952 harvest which have been given as 8 250 bags of maize fetching a total of ₤2 400; 123 bags of rapoko (₤3 200) and 241 bags of groundnuts which fetched ₤2 900. 349 All cattle sales in the colony’s rural areas were conducted in terms of the Native Cattle Marketing Act No. 23/47. A seller was issued with a permit to sell cattle before entering into an agreement of sale. Such permits were issued under Section 6 of the Act. One permit given in 1949 to a certain Mary of Mudzingwa village read: “Permission is hereby granted to Mary of Mudzingwa, Gatooma District, to sell, otherwise than at a Native Department Sale, the following number and class of cattle: Cows 0, Bulls 0, Oxen 0, and Young Stock 1.” 350 The validity of the permits usually ranged from 7 to 30 days. Buyers other than “natives,” were required by law to endorse on the permit the number of cattle bought and the endorsement was supposed to be signed and dated by the buyer. The permits were used for purposes of supervising and monitoring destocking measures, but stock owners often found a way round the Cattle Marketing Act which, in the first instance, was not designed to benefit them.

Contours, dipping fees and peasant discontent:-

Lack of adequate land, the forced adjustment to the contour regime, the increase in dipping fees (tax) and destocking measures fomented a lot of discontent in the rural areas.





The NC Gatooma complained that in the month of March 1961, he had been inundated with applications by “natives” of other districts for permission to move to Sanyati Reserve arguing that: “Allocation in Sanyati was completed last year [1960] apart from some 1 600 acres which was block allocated and where individual allocation will be done this year [1961].” 351 He proceeded to say: “The possibility of allocating extra people on consolidated holdings in the ‘Jesi’ area is being investigated by Technical Block, but this is very much ‘in the air’ and to all intents and purposes there is no more land available in Sanyati … While it is difficult to refuse these applications and while I cannot quote any authority for my right to do so, nevertheless I am doubtful of the wisdom of allowing NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, “Agro-Economic Survey: Sanyati Reserve,” Patterson (Land Development Officer), 25th

March, 1953; See also NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File:

LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, “Agro-Economic Survey: Sanyati Reserve,” R. M. Davies (Director of Native Agriculture, Causeway) to all Provincial Agriculturists and all Land Development Officers, 23rd February, 1953, 4.

Ibid., 2.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 22867,Location 18.5.3R, File: AGR 2 – Agricultural Shows (1957-1958), “Permit to sell cattle,” NC Gatooma, 07/04/49.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, G. A. Barlow (NC Gatooma) to the PNC, Mashonaland West, Causeway, 24th March, 1961.

them in, since they will merely increase the number of landless people in the reserve and probably be a source of trouble in the future.” 352 Due to land shortage, many people were ploughing in the grazing areas in spite of the threat of prosecution. For encroaching onto the grazing lot, offenders were charged under Section 42 of the African Affairs Act which empowered law-enforcement agents to prosecute them for disobeying the orders of the Chiefs and Headmen against this illegal practice. 353 The law, nevertheless, proved quite cumbersome to enforce since some “Kraalheads” themselves were also ploughing in the grazing area. Complaints that “the grazing area is being completely taken up and that the cattle are dying of starvation” were frequently heard. 354 As already noted, land shortage seemed to be compounded by the demand to erect contours for conservation purposes.

After the Planning Team from the Department of Native Agriculture’s visit to Sanyati Reserve between the 8th and 11th of June 1954, a strategy for the agricultural development of the area was adopted. One of its main focus was soil conservation. The Acting Assistant Director of Native Agriculture, T. G. Murton, accompanied the Animal Husbandry Officer and the LDO, Vaughan-Evans, on this tour of the Reserve, at the conclusion of which a discussion was held with the ANC, O’Conner. During the visit, it was generally observed that a grass cover in the grazing area should be maintained and that the concentration of cattle in certain parts was leading to the commencement of

serious erosion. 355 It was further observed that:

–  –  –

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, G. A. Barlow (NC Gatooma) to the PNC, Mashonaland West, Causeway, 24th March, 1961.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, R. L. Westcott (DC Gatooma) to Member-in-Charge, B.S.A. Police, Featherstone, 1st December 1964.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, V.O. Meredith (District Officer, Gatooma) to DC Gatooma, 5th November 1964.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, T. G. Murton, Acting Assistant Director of Native Agriculture (Native Agriculture Department, Causeway) to the Director Native Agriculture; the PNC (Northern Mashonaland); the Provincial Agriculturist (Northern Mashonaland); the ANC Gatooma and to the Land Development Officer (Sanyati Reserve), 20th July, 1954, 2.

Ibid.

Following a discussion of the above general observations with the LDO, the information necessary for the Technical Survey was also considered. Using this information, it was agreed that the priority development work which the LDO should carry out during 1955 should, among other things, include agricultural extension and soil conservation work.

Extension work through demonstrations was to be provided by the LDO, Demonstrators and Supernumeraries or Extension Assistants (when available) emphasising early planting, compost making, stocking and winter ploughing, the greater use of “munga” (a good variety to be obtained from Makoholi and distributed free), Tseta Kaffir Corn and Radar as well as the tackling of mixed cropping and ensure its complete disappearance especially after individual allocation. 357 Compost making, the rotating of crops and other such measures constituted what were described as improved methods of agriculture. Each agricultural demonstrator was ordered to commence buffer stripping on grade and drainage channel demarcation with the help of the Soil Conservation Officer. A stopgap measure was put in place to counteract any possible resistance against buffer stripping,

that is:

–  –  –

Based on these general observations and preliminary findings, the LDO for Sanyati, Vaughan-Evans, proceeded to submit to the Director of Native Agriculture an “excellent” Technical Survey Report on Sanyati agriculture, for example, its arable and stock position as well as its conservationist thrust. 359 As the Reserve lacks any distinct topographical features it was considered preferable to divide it and this Survey into zones on a vegetation and soil basis and as a result five fairly distinct zones (See Mozaics –

Appendix III) 360 can be differentiated. These are namely:

1. The Mopane Zone, covering an estimated 47 000 acres with very sparse grass cover, yellow mopane type of soils and the arable land just like the other four zones is in centralised blocks and under regular cultivation; 2.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, T. G. Murton (Acting Assistant Director of Native Agriculture) to the Director Native Agriculture et al, 20th July, 1954, 2.

Ibid., 3.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, “Technical Survey Report: Sanyati Reserve,” A. R. Vaughan Evans (LDO) to the Director of Native Agriculture, Causeway, 20th July 1954, 1-9. N.B. The origins of this Technical Survey Report can be traced back to the Report of the Field Survey Party of 1950.

NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, the Administrative Officer Native Land Husbandary Act, Causeway, Salisbury to the ANC Gatooma, 30 June 1956. N.B. Serial Mosaic is the term applied to the technique of serial mapping by which photographs taken from the air (aerial photographs) are fitted together like a jig-saw puzzle; a technique used since World War 2 in the service of town-planning. Source: Alexander H. Irvine (ed.), Collins English Dictionary, (London: William Collins Sons and Company Limited, 1956), 656.

–  –  –

The five major zones are said to be relatively flat and, as such, the reserve was hardly affected by serious erosion requiring the building of contour ridges in the arable lands.

However, this argument has been proved to be merely academic as most of the field informants testify to being compelled to erect contours and maintain them in good condition - a very laborious and onerous task indeed.



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