A socio-enviromental history of commercial tobacco farming in Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, c.1893-2000s

Doro, Elijah (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis explores the relationship between tobacco farmers (both black and white) and the environment in Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe and how this relationship shaped physical landscapes, agricultural ecosystems and affected the human body across time. It examines the changing role of the state in regulating tobacco farming and discusses the shifting production dynamics and agronomic practices and how these transitions constructed new environments and social relations. The thesis demonstrates that extraneous global pressures such as the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl environmental catastrophe in the USA and the two World Wars also exerted a huge influence on tobacco farming in Southern Rhodesia. The thesis uses the broader historiographical theories on the rise of conservation ideologies within white settler agriculture in southern Africa and global discourses on modern environmentalism to interrogate how tobacco farming practices contributed to environmental degradation, contamination or improvement. The thesis further engages with colonial policy on African tobacco production and shows that Africans were systematically excluded from competitive commercial production of tobacco and relegated to the position of labourers in white farms and consumers of European tobacco. Finally, it evaluates the changing contemporary socio-environmental dynamics of tobacco production in Zimbabwe beyond 2000 and the prospects of using the lessons from history for curbing the global tobacco epidemic.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif ondersoek die verhouding tussen tabakboere (beide swart en wit) en die omgewing in Suid-Rhodesië en Zimbabwe en hoe hierdie verhouding oor tyd die fisiese landskap en landbou ekosisteme gevorm het asook die menslike liggaam beinvloed het. Dit ondersoek ook die veranderende regulatoriese rol van die staat in tabakboerdery en bespreek die veranderende produksie dinamika en agronomiese praktyke en hoe dié oorgange nuwe omgewings en sosiale verhoudings totstand gebring het. Die proefskrif toon aan dat eksterne globale faktore soos die Groot Depressie, die “Dust Bowl” omgewingskatestrofe in die VSA en die twee Wêreldoorloë tabakboerdery in Suid-Rhodesië grondig beinvloed het. Die proefskrif gebruik die breër historiografiese teorieë oor die opkoms van bewarings ideologieë in wit setlaar/koloniale landbou in Suidelike Afrika asook globale diskoerse oor moderene omgewingsbewaring/bewussyn om te bepaal hoe die praktyke van tabakboerdery tot omgewings agteruitgang, besmetting of verbetering bygedra het. Die proefskrif fokus verder op koloniale beleidsrigtings oor Swart (African) tabakproduksie en toon aan dat Swartmense (Africans) sistematies van mededingende kommersiële tabakproduksie uitgesluit is en tot arbeiders op wit plase en verbruikers van Europese tabak gerelegeer is. Ten slotte gee die proefskrif ’n oorsig oor die veranderende huidige sosio-omgewings dinamika van tabakproduksie in Zimbabwe na 2000 en die vooruitsigte vir die bekamping van die globale tabakepidemie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108099
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