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1 w Tensions in the Colonial Restructuring of Local Environmental Authority, 1880–c. 1915 As the colonial government appropriated Transkeian resources through annexation and the establishment of new administrative institutions, intense disputes emerged over the nature and scope of environmental authority . Paramount chiefs were demoted, commoner headmen were elevated to new ranks, magistrates took over the helm of newly demarcated districts, and the Forest Department increasingly exerted its influence on the lives of African communities. From the 1880s to the mid-1910s, as colonial personnel, chiefs, headmen, and commoners negotiated control over natural resources across the Transkei, they simultaneously contested the meaning of these collective transformations in local political and environmental relations. In KwaMatiwane negotiations over environmental authority were embedded within the region’s unique histories of political and environmental restructuring . Following the final major Transkeian rebellion of the nineteenth century , officials expanded the colonial domination of both local populations and resources, viewing them as mutually supportive agendas. From the early 1880s onward, controlling forests became a key ingredient in official strategies to stabilize the social order, consolidate colonial rule, and resettle local populations. The settlement of diverse populations into newly created subdistrict locations and the appointment of government-salaried headmen to oversee them served the twin causes of political stability and expanded resource regulation. As colonial conservation was formally established and expanded from the late 1880s onward , officials more systematically empowered and obliged headmen to help enforce governmental forest schemes in their locations. Over the course of the 1890s, the government also expanded the activities of European forest officers and African forest guards in local areas, who worked alongside headmen in 31 You are reading copyrighted material published by Ohio University Press/Swallow Press. Unauthorized posting, copying, or distributing of this work except as permitted under U.S. copyright law is illegal and injures the author and publisher. controlling location forest access until the late 1900s, as a new management policy emerged for location forests. From this point forward, foresters’ patrols were confined to only demarcated government reserves, and headmen took over the daily supervision of newly defined “headmen’s forests” in their wards. Differently situated chiefs, headmen, and commoners brought their wider personal experiences of social, economic, and ecological transformation to bear on their responses to these changes in environmental authority. The complex relocation policies of the postwar 1880s, including the resettlement of economically and culturally differentiated groups into common locations, exacerbated ongoing tensions and magnified such lines of difference. As such groups competed over land and forest resources, intralocation factions settled their scores in heated disputes over headmen’s political and environmental authority . African authorities’ ambiguous participation in colonial forest policies particularly generated uneasy and unpredictable relations with both location residents and officials, as newly subordinated chiefs and newly appointed headmen often exploited their hand in forest control to derive various political and economic benefits. With the expansion of forest patrols and personnel in the region in the 1890s and early 1900s the politics of resource negotiations became even more complex and intense, as headmen jockeyed to maintain their influence over popular resource access and location residents felt and expressed their deeper frustrations with the colonial state, particularly in a period of acute rural stress, through struggles with forest officers and guards. At the same time, headmen, residents, and forest guards each brought deeper personal histories and vendettas to their negotiation of these shifting power relations. Over the course of the late 1900s and early 1910s, as location forests were placed under headmen’s exclusive control, negotiations over forest access continued to involve a combination of various social, economic, and environmental stakes for differently situated actors. Officials still faced ambiguously positioned headmen who often exploited their limited sphere of authority for the benefit and protection of themselves and the people of their wards. Simultaneously, many men and women contended with headmen who extracted demands and constrained local forest access according to personal interpretations of their environmental prerogatives. rebellion and its aftermath: stabilizing colonial resource and population control By the late 1870s colonialism had already begun reshaping the political landscape of KwaMatiwane and adjacent areas. From the early 1860s onward the 32 w Chapter 1 You are reading copyrighted material published by Ohio University Press/Swallow Press. Unauthorized posting, copying, or distributing of this work except as permitted under U.S. copyright law is illegal and injures the author and publisher. Thembu paramount Ngangelizwe developed increasingly closer ties with Cape authorities, strategically weathering multiple frontier wars in the...


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