Seeds of Trouble: Government Policy and Land Rights in Nyasaland, 1946-1964
Land rights and land reform were central elements of colonial history. This book looks at their significance for British colonial policy in Nyasaland (modern Malawi), and how the British government tried to prevent discontent among Africans living or working on European-owned private estates. The first section outlines the political and geographical context, the original acquisition of land by foreigners the restriction of the indigenous population to Trust Lands, against a background of rising labour demand, population pressure and discontent. In 1948 Geoffrey Colby was appointed Governor. He was aware of the potentially explosive nature of these issues, and the book describes his policy of land purchase and the abolition of the hated thangata system, by which African tenants paid their foreign landlords annual rent in money or labour. The conclusion emphasises the racial conflict inherent in the employment of indigenous labour on foreign-owned land and summarizes the steps taken to prevent its escalation in the run-up to independence.
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