The ‘multiracial’ Central African Federation, 1953–63
in Class, work and whiteness
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Chapter 4 covers the period in which Southern and Northern Rhodesia joined with Nyasaland in the Central African Federation from 1953 to 1963. This chapter begins with an assessment of white labour strength in the post-war years, with particular emphasis on the position of white women and non-British whites. It also considers the growing numbers of Africans in semi-skilled and skilled work. In response to the increasing encroachment on white male jobs, white workers agitated for a 'white labour policy' in which every job in the colony would be performed by whites despite the centrality of African labour to the economy. This proposed policy is examined as an example of mass cognitive dissonance and a collective fantasy of African elimination. The chapter then turns to a strike of European firemen in 1954 to consider the ways in which the mobility of white settlers disrupted existing trade union structures and racialised practices and argues the strike points to a broader failure of settler socialisation. The chapter ends with a consideration of the role of white workers in the turn to more segregationist and racist practice and election of the Rhodesian Front.

Class, work and whiteness

Race and settler colonialism in Southern Rhodesia, 1919–79

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