Labour migration and household survival strategies among the Nyakyusa, 1920 – 1962

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University of Dar es Salaam
This dissertation examines colonial labour migration and the household survival strategies of the Nyakyusa from 1920 to 1962. It has three main objectives; to identify the causes and development of labour migration among the Nyakyusa; to analyze the consequences of labour migration on the Nyakyusa households from 1920 – 1962; and to examine strategies adopted by wives of migrant men in order to survive during the absence of their husbands. Evidence for the dissertation comes from colonial archival sources, oral interviews with Nyakyusa elders in Rungwe District, and secondary readings. Labour migration started in the early 1920s and until the late 1930s the destinations were mostly within Tanzania. The Nyakyusa sought wage labour in the Lupa goldfields, Mbozi coffee farms, and in the coastal sisal plantations. By the 1940s the Nyakyusa engaged in inter-territorial migration, crossing the border to the Copper belts of Northern Rhodesia, the coal mines and agricultural plantations in Southern Rhodesia, and in the mining economy of South Africa. Shortage of land, the need for bride price, colonial taxation and cultural obligations were the driving forces for the Nyakyusa men to engage in colonial labour migration. The absence of men for long periods of time had some unintended consequences. The agricultural workload for the women whose husbands were away for a long time increased, some wives of migrant labourers engaged in extramarital sexual relations which resulted in the birth of illegitimate children, and some of the families of migrant men disintegrated as wives sought divorces. Wives who remained at home created adaptive strategies that made their life bearable. Such strategies included participating in cooperative farming, engaging in petty trade, seeking wage employment in the missionary stations, and seeking divorces.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HD5856.T34M852)
Migrant labor, Nyakyusa (African people), Tanganyika, Politics and governments
Mwakikuti, O. (2015) Labour migration and household survival strategies among the Nyakyusa, 1920 – 1962, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam