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The missing people - Accounting for the productivity of indigenous populations in Cape colonial history

Fourie, Johan and Green, Erik LU (2015) In Journal of African History 56(2). p.195-215
Abstract
Because information about the livelihoods of indigenous groups in Africa is often missing from colonial records, the presence of such people usually escapes attention in quantitative estimates of colonial economic activity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony, where the role of the Khoesan in Cape production, despite being frequently acknowledged, has been almost completely ignored in quantitative investigations. Combining household-level settler data with anecdotal accounts of Khoesan labour, this article presents new estimates of the Khoesan population of the Cape Colony. Our results show that the Khoesan did not leave the area as a consequence of settler expansion. On the contrary, the number... (More)
Because information about the livelihoods of indigenous groups in Africa is often missing from colonial records, the presence of such people usually escapes attention in quantitative estimates of colonial economic activity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony, where the role of the Khoesan in Cape production, despite being frequently acknowledged, has been almost completely ignored in quantitative investigations. Combining household-level settler data with anecdotal accounts of Khoesan labour, this article presents new estimates of the Khoesan population of the Cape Colony. Our results show that the Khoesan did not leave the area as a consequence of settler expansion. On the contrary, the number of Khoesan employed by the settlers increased over time, as the growth of settler farming followed a pattern of primitive accumulation and drove the Khoesan to abandon their pastoral lifestyle to become farm labourers.We show that, in failing to include the Khoisan population, previous estimates have overestimated slave productivity, social inequality, and the level of gross domestic product in the Cape Colony. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
South Africa, economic, labour, inequality, slavery, indigeneity
in
Journal of African History
volume
56
issue
2
pages
195 - 215
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000356924400001
  • scopus:84930842794
ISSN
0021-8537
DOI
10.1017/S002185371500002X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ac8cca55-c91b-40b3-8239-4231b74c0d57 (old id 5364151)
date added to LUP
2015-05-04 10:29:48
date last changed
2017-01-01 03:39:55
@article{ac8cca55-c91b-40b3-8239-4231b74c0d57,
  abstract     = {Because information about the livelihoods of indigenous groups in Africa is often missing from colonial records, the presence of such people usually escapes attention in quantitative estimates of colonial economic activity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony, where the role of the Khoesan in Cape production, despite being frequently acknowledged, has been almost completely ignored in quantitative investigations. Combining household-level settler data with anecdotal accounts of Khoesan labour, this article presents new estimates of the Khoesan population of the Cape Colony. Our results show that the Khoesan did not leave the area as a consequence of settler expansion. On the contrary, the number of Khoesan employed by the settlers increased over time, as the growth of settler farming followed a pattern of primitive accumulation and drove the Khoesan to abandon their pastoral lifestyle to become farm labourers.We show that, in failing to include the Khoisan population, previous estimates have overestimated slave productivity, social inequality, and the level of gross domestic product in the Cape Colony.},
  author       = {Fourie, Johan and Green, Erik},
  issn         = {0021-8537},
  keyword      = {South Africa,economic,labour,inequality,slavery,indigeneity},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {195--215},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Journal of African History},
  title        = {The missing people - Accounting for the productivity of indigenous populations in Cape colonial history},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S002185371500002X},
  volume       = {56},
  year         = {2015},
}