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A reassessment of the 1958 Sekhukhuneland Peasant Revolt: evaluation of internal division as a cause of the uprising

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dc.contributor.author Nkadimeng, George Tseke
dc.date.accessioned 2008-06-26T05:51:00Z
dc.date.available 2008-06-26T05:51:00Z
dc.date.issued 2008-06-26T05:51:00Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/726
dc.description.abstract This mini dissertation considers the internal division of the Pedi in Sekhukhuneland, which culminated in the 1958 Sekhukhune Peasant Revolt. The dissertation reveals that the fall of the Pedi kingdom in 1878, land dispossession and the implementation of the apartheid policy polarised Pedi society to a point of conflict. Though the period of study is wide in scope, this research investigates those factors which caused internal division amongst the Pedi to a point of conflict. The central focus is only those aspects that divided the Pedi . In the early years after the fall of the Pedi Kingdom the role of the native commissioners based in Sekhukhuneland, appeared to have eroded the legitimacy of Maroteng hegemony . Systems of Pedi local political expression were much affected by the immense powers of the native commissioners. The division of the Pedi kingdom and the appointment of chiefs were early signs of discontent against the authority of the native commissioners. Sekhukhuneland began to suffer from political division created by the shift in the local power base. The undermining of Maroteng hegemony by the native commissioners created a feeling of antagonism towards government policy which was contrary to the Pedi traditional practices or beliefs. That is why explicit aspects of land reforms and cattle culling in the 1930s and 1940s were vehemently opposed and hatred levelled against those who accepted the government programmes. Internal division of the Pedi nation was possible because of the heterogenous composition of society. The Pedi society is made up of loosely fragmented ethnic groups such as the Bakgatla, Batau, Bakoni, Baroka, Baphuti and Amandebele. The unity of these ethnic groups previously relied on the strength of the Maroteng ethnic group. With the collapse of the Pedi kingdom, the power of Maroteng was curtailed, resulting in individual ethnic groups gradually becoming autonomous from Maroteng authority. They were influenced by the National Party government policy of separate development. However, the study also investigates the social and political plight of these minor ethnic groups. Access to land by minor ethnic groups was an impediment towards Pedi unity and caused internal division. There was also internal division caused by the forces of modernisation and traditional practices. The impact of Christianity and the emergence of the local elite such as teachers, clerks and policemen added another dimension of polarisation. The study also examines why the institution of the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 resulted in conflict. The government deportation of chief Morwamoche Sekhukhune to Cala in the Transkei in 1958/03/21 and the arrest of chief Phasoane Nkadimeng in 1958/05/16 resulted in open conflict between government supporters dubbed “Marenjara” and resisters called the “Makhuduthamaga”. Government action was viewed as the final onslaught of what was once regarded as the Pedi pride. The study will also look at why the arrest of chief Phasoane Nkadimeng had such political impact to set Sekhukhuneland on fire. Attention is also paid to the involvement of the migrant workers who played a pivotal and crucial role in the period preceding the uprising. It was in that uprising that the Pedi migrant workers put to test the revolutionary theories acquired through membership of the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP). The core leaders of the Pedi migrant workers’ organisation, Fetakgomo, were also active members of both the ANC and the SACP. The character of the 1958 uprising is explained by the internal division of the Pedi which had its roots in the fall of the Pedi kingdom in 1880. en
dc.description.sponsorship Professor G. Verhoef en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Pedi (African people) en
dc.subject Sekhukhuneland (South Africa) en
dc.title A reassessment of the 1958 Sekhukhuneland Peasant Revolt: evaluation of internal division as a cause of the uprising en
dc.type Thesis en


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