Chastity and the Colonial Service
in Empire and sexuality
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In 1909 a sexual directive was issued to members of the Colonial Service which for the first time laid down a general rule to discourage concubinage, warning of the severe penalties that could be expected. This change of official attitude was one of the few tangible elements differentiating the post-Edwardian empire from what had gone before. Hubert Silberrad was an assistant district commissioner at Nyeri, near Fort Hall in central Kenya. The Times carried several letters commenting on the Silberrad case, together with an editorial on 26 December. In Northern Rhodesia, however, the situation remained unchecked until 1909-10, when the sexual activities of three men attracted attention: C. J. Macnamara, R. L. Harrison and R. A. Osborne. Macnamara, Native Commissioner of Guimbi sub-district in Northwestern Rhodesia, admitted concubinage with an African woman from December 1906 until September 1907.

Empire and sexuality

The British Experience

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