«CHAPTER TWO PEASANT PRODUCTION AND DIFFERENTIATION: THE SANYATI HINTERLAND (1939 – 1964) INTRODUCTION A cursory look at Sanyati communal lands in ...»
On our way [home] many police trucks raced past us. When we arrived my uncle told us that the Europeans had just arrested the chief, because he told the people to resist. A police truck sped out of the village and we NAZ, S1194/190/1, Report of a meeting held in September 1950.
For detail on the background to and implementation of the NLHA see the government policy document, What the Native Land Husbandry Act Means. Several writings have given different interpretations of the Act, for example, Barry Floyd, “Changing Patterns of African Land Use in Southern Rhodesia,” PhD dissertation, Syracuse University, 1959; M. Yudelman, Africans on the Land, Chapter 5; William Duggan, “The Native Land Husbandry Act of 1951 and the Rural African Middle Class of Southern Rhodesia.” African Affairs, 79, (1980), 315; Bulman, The Native Land Husbandry Act of Southern Rhodesia and Machingaidze, “Agrarian Change from Above,” 557-589.
Joke Munyaka Wozhele, Personal Interview, ARDA Main Irrigation Estate, Sanyati, 20th October 2004.
See also NAZ, MF 557: Mashonaland South Province: Gatooma District (Ministry of Internal Affairs), 14.
Anna Madzorera interviewed by Irene Staunton, Mother of Revolution: The War Experiences of Thirty Zimbabwean Women, (London: James Currey, 1990), 113 cited in Nyambara, “A History of Land Acquisition in Gokwe,” 73.
Apparently, unperturbed by this tragedy, the whites still insisted that these people should depart for Sanyati; and under an Acting Chief Wozhele appointed with effect from 1st September 1951, they were moved to the Reserve. As if to add insult to injury, the Acting Producer of the Central African Film Unit in Salisbury (now Harare), was frantically preparing to film the movement of people to Sanyati.
In his correspondence to the NC Que Que, copied to the Assistant Native Commissioner Gatooma, entitled “Film on movement of peoples” the Acting Producer did not hide his excitement at filming “the movement of Africans from the Que Que district to the Sanyati Reserve, Gatooma district … likely to take place shortly.” 223 He went further to say:
In separate correspondence to the NC Que Que, copied to the NC Hartley and the ANC Gatooma when the movement to the Sanyati Reserve had commenced, he was delighted to inform his audience that: “Messrs. S. Peet and P. Young, of this Unit, will travel to Gatooma on the 20th August . The purpose of their visit will be, first, to view the movement activities and plan film coverage, and subsequently to do such filming as may be necessary.” 225 The purpose of such filming was not clear, but it is probable that this must have been used for propaganda purposes. However, with or without the film, opposition to eviction persisted. Presumably, out of fear that resistance to eviction might escalate to Old Gjerstad (ed.) The Organizer, Story of Temba Moyo, (British Columbia: LSM Press, Richard, 1974), 32 cited in Nyambara, “A History of Land Acquisition in Gokwe,” 73-74.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, The Acting Producer, Central African Film Unit, Salisbury, to NC Que Que and to ANC Gatooma), 20th July, 1951.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 9 Sanyati and Ngezi: 1951-1964, The Acting Producer, Central African Film Unit, Salisbury, to NC Que Que, NC Hartley and ANC Gatooma, 9th August, 1951.
unmanageable proportions, in 1952 armed soldiers were deployed to deal with the situation. Huts and granaries belonging to persons who offered the last remnants of resistance were tied in chains and pulled down by lorries or bulldozers as the soldiers went on the rampage destroying huts and forcing people to move to Sanyati. In Lozane’s words: “Police, soldiers, guns and dogs were used to evict people and sacks were provided by government to pack goods and not every possession could be taken on board as a lot of personal belongings and a myriad other things were left behind, leaving an ineradicable sense of loss and deprivation in the minds of the victims.” 226 This must have been done with the approval of the newly appointed NC for Gatooma, O’Conner as no dissenting voice was heard from him. Through this callous and reprehensible way of handling resistance, all the people from Rhodesdale had been moved to Sanyati by 1953, the year the third and last wave of “immigrants” was settled. The following year, 1954, the Acting Chief whose personal name was Ndaba was installed as the substantive Chief Wozhele on 1st April. 227 However, eviction from Rhodesdale was not accepted without resistance. In correspondence by Finnis to the NC Hartley entitled: “Movement of Natives 1952: The Land Apportionment Amendment Act No.54/1951,” it was noted with grave concern that Wozhele’s people employed avoidance or diversionary tactics to resist eviction from Crown Land. The fear that these people were determined to stay in Rhodesdale despite the offensive that was launched against them was gaining currency by the day as revealed
by the following statement:
In the light of the above, it was deemed necessary to issue a sterner ultimatum to Wozhele’s people ordering them to leave Rhodesdale.
For the purposes of Section 5 (1) of the Land Apportionment Amendment Act No. 54 of 1951, I beg to suggest that the Proclamation so far as Rhodesdale (Gatooma) is concerned be worded to include all natives there residing and requiring them to leave by 31st August 1952 and to proceed to Headman T. M. Lozane, Personal Interview, Lozane Village Homestead, Sanyati, 18th October 2004.
NAZ, MF 557: Mashonaland South Province: Gatooma District (Ministry of Internal Affairs), 12 and 14.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, S. F. Finnis, ANC Gatooma, to the NC Hartley, 7th January 1952.
either the Special Native Area in the Subungwe [sic] District or the Sanyati Reserve in the Hartley District. 229 According to R. L. Westcott, the NC Gatooma, “… it is a contravention of the Land Apportionment Act for a native to occupy, or be allowed to occupy, land in the European area unless he is in the employ of the owner, either full time or on a Labour Agreement basis.” 230 ANC Barlow avidly warned against “Native squatters” living on European ranches. The full text of the warning served on one Doreen’s Pride Ranch owner, T. J.
Rorke, under the heading “Native Squatters” read:
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, S. F. Finnis, ANC Gatooma, to the NC Hartley, 7th January 1952. See also same NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, “Programme for Movement of Natives,” ANC Gatooma, 27 March 1952.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, R. L. Westcott, NC Gatooma, 18th January 1962.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, G. A. Barlow, ANC Gatooma, to T. J. Rorke, Doreen’s Pride Ranch, Gatooma, 19th February, 1957.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, ANC Gatooma, G. A. Barlow, 15th April 1957.
Cases of stiff resistance against eviction were reported to the British South Africa Police (BSAP). For instance, the following case was tabled by the ANC Gatooma for investigation by the Member-in-Charge, Battlefields, in terms of the alleged breach of the
Land Apportionment Act 1941(Rhodesdale):
After investigation and on the basis of Torr’s polished defence, the Member-in-Charge, Battlefields, had no option but to exonerate him which illustrated the flimsy grounds on which allegations were made against this farmer. Clearly there were numerous deficiencies and frailties in the manner the investigation had been conducted, thereby forcing the Member-in-Charge to conclude that: “ ‘Torr’s’ account was correct i.e. that no natives have moved from the Rhodesdale area to his farm to avoid going to the Sanyati Reserve and that the natives at present on his farm have been there since he took over the farm in 1947, and that they are all working full time for him.” 235 However, given the need for labour on big ranches such as Silver Star, Bartlett-Torr’s response to the allegations of harbouring squatters can be interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, being near to the Mondoro Reserve, it is possible Bartlett-Torr received plenty of labour whenever he needed it and so might not have desperately required the labour of the Rhodesdale evictees. On the other, it is likely that he was conniving with the squatters so that he would retain their labour for his seasonal requirements.
Although exact figures have not been provided, by 1953 it appears, the Sanyati Reserve was already over-crowded and the Office of the ANC Gatooma was making frantic efforts to block new claims to land by people who felt they had a right to move to the district consequent to the move from Rhodesdale to Sanyati. People needed to be registered by the ANC Que Que at the time of the movement in order to be legitimate claimants to land in Sanyati or thereafter, Que Que needed to confirm them as authentic “left overs from mass movements.” 236 The ANC Gatooma was particularly querying the authenticity of a certain Matembo-Sayimoni (registration No. J 2022, Que Que) and Shebeni’s (No. X 3185 Que Que) claims because their names did not appear on his lists and thus constituted what were deemed “Irregular removals to Sanyati.” Accordingly, the ANC issued an injunction to prosecute those people who had moved without the express permission of the ANC for Que Que. It read: “Matembo-Sayimoni and Shebeni are no doubt exploiting a situation which has not been buttoned up properly. All Natives that do not appear on our lists should be prosecuted if they have moved without any advice of removal from Que Que.” 237 However, it is probable that the two might have gone to work (wage employment) and were not registered at the time of the movement and, incidentally, had lost their right to land ownership in the Reserve. In subsequent correspondence with Que Que, the ANC Gatooma was prepared to reconsider Matembo and Shebeni’s case only if it was verified that their names existed on the original Rhodesdale list of evictees to Sanyati arguing that: “I have closed the general list and … If these persons should have been included in the Rhodesdale lot I can accept them but if they are from other kraals I cannot do so, as this would only start a series of unauthorised movements for the future.” 238 This, in essence, signified that, officially, the movement of in-Charge, Battlefields, 18/3/52.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951The Member-in-Charge, Battlefields, to the ANC Gatooma, 26/3/52.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, ANC Gatooma to Land Development Officer (LDO), Sanyati, 3rd March 1953.
NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, people to the Sanyati Reserve had been completed and that any new entrants would be a further strain to the existing carrying capacity of the area.
According to Headman Two Macleod Lozane (a former Primary School teacher), the evictions of thousands of Africans from Rhodesdale to various rural destinations throughout pre-independence Zimbabwe were “more of a political move than anything else” 239 and were justified from a colonialist standpoint. M. Yudelman has argued that between 1941 and 1948 the African population in Rhodesia increased by more than 700 000 persons, while the area apportioned for their use had remained almost unchanged. 240 The land position in the Native Reserves 241 in the post-war period was such that 7 118 200 additional acres of land were urgently required for an estimated 71 182 African families, who lived outside the Native Reserves, on Alienated Land and Crown Land designated as European Land, Forest Areas and Unassigned Areas. The last straw was when Africans residing in these areas were required, much to their chagrin, to move out as a result of the implementation of the “politically-driven” Land Apportionment Act of
1930. The Act legalised the division of the country’s land resources between black and white. 242 This marked a major turning point in colonial Zimbabwe’s racialised regime which in all respects became highly segregationist in outlook. Table 2.1 illustrates the categories into which the country was divided and the area in acres occupied by each category.
ANC Gatooma to the ANC Que Que, 13th March 1953. See also NAZ (RC), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Box 158077, Location C19.2.10R, File: LAN 1-7: 1951-1964, S. F. Finnis, ANC Gatooma to the Director of Native Agriculture, Causeway, Salisbury, 29th October, 1952.
Headman Lozane, Personal Interview.
M. Yudelman, Africans on the Land: Problems of African Agricultural Development in Southern, Central and East Africa, with Special Reference to Southern Rhodesia, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964), 74.
African areas were known as Native Reserves until 1962. Since 1962 they were renamed Tribal Trust Lands (TTLs). At independence in 1980 they were re-christianed Communal Lands. These were areas where Africans were considered to live according to their own “customs” under their traditional leaders.
See A. K. H. Weinrich, Chiefs and Councils in Rhodesia: Transition from Patriarchal to Bureaucratic Power, (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1971), 5.
NAZ, S1194/190/1: Land for Native Occupation 1946-47, Reports of the Ad-Hoc Committee.
Table 2.1: Land Apportionment in Rhodesia, 1930 243
Source: G. Kay, Rhodesia: A Human Geography, 51.