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by Landeg White

eBook Magomero: Portrait of an African Village download ISBN: 0521321824
Author: Landeg White
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 24, 1987)
Language: English
Pages: 288
ePub: 1564 kb
Fb2: 1602 kb
Rating: 4.4
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Category: Different
Subcategory: Humanities

Landeg White has written an interesting and informative book on the village of Magomero in southern Malawi between 1859 .

Landeg White has written an interesting and informative book on the village of Magomero in southern Malawi between 1859 and the present day. Unlike some books written by academics for a general readership, there is no dumbing-down, and White is able to express his empathy for the people of the village in a way that would be out of place in a more academic book. The book is divided into four sections, the first two of which cover to events that have given Magomero its two claims to fame

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Landeg White is a gifted literary stylist, and this book often reads like a novel (when someone says that, make sure they're not thinking of "Finnegan's Wake"). Recently Viewed and Featured. Your Child's First Pet: A Parent's Guide to Ensuring Success.

by Landeg White Cambridge University Press 1987. This book is a historical portrait of a village in the southern region of Malawi from 1859 to the present day. The portrait has two aspects. Magomero is a place on which many of the principal concerns of Africa’s historians in recent years are focused – the slave trade, Christian missions and their impact, colonialism and ethnicity, land alienation in a plantation economy, resistance and the rise of nationalism, peasant cash-cropping and the mobilisation of labour, the struggle for resources between men and women, and the perpetuation.

The Journal of African History. Volume 29, Issue 1 (Special Issue in Honour of ROLAND OLIVER). March 1988, pp. 120-123. Way of the Village - Magomero: Portrait of an African Village. Cambridge University Press, 1987. Pp. xii + 271. £1. 0. University of Stirling.

Donna Pankhurst, 1991. Portrait of an African Village by Landeg White. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989, pp. 271, £. 5 p/.," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Lt. vol. 3(1), pages 95-97. Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:3:y:1991:i:1:p:95-97:2. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

See Magomero A portrait of an Africa village by Landeg White). The mission was abandoned after the death of Bishop Mackenzie. In 1889 the Catholic White Fathers also aimed to convert the Yao of Mponda in Mangochi. Chief Mponda gave them land to open a mission station. A shifted its sphere to Morumbala in Mozambique. After the failure of the . A in Magomero, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi, such as the St Michael and All Angels Church in Blantyre founded in 1876. The target once again were the Yao Muslims who had embraced Islam earlier than the 1870s. The influence of the Catholics has been strong since 1889.

Magomero is a vivid historical portrait of a Malawian village from 1859 to the present day. It focuses on a region which saw historically important political activity, in the founding of a colony of freed slaves and the rising of an independent church movement against white estate owners.

An insider's view of African historians' principal concerns--the slave trade, Christian missions, colonialism, land alienation and nationalism--is presented through this personalized account of a Malawi village from 1859 to the present.
Comments: (2)
Walan
Landeg White has written an interesting and informative book on the village of Magomero in southern Malawi between 1859 and the present day. Unlike some books written by academics for a general readership, there is no dumbing-down, and White is able to express his empathy for the people of the village in a way that would be out of place in a more academic book.

The book is divided into four sections, the first two of which cover to events that have given Magomero its two claims to fame. The first was in 1861 when it became the site of a Universities Mission to Central Africa, because David Livingstone had earlier recommended it. It was a bad choice, and here and elsewhere White is critical of Livingstone as both over-optimistic on the potential of the area and stubborn in refusing to alter his opinions. The mission soon withdrew after getting involved in local wars. This showed the missionaries' misconceptions of the situation and African misunderstanding of their motives: both viewpoints are explained in a sympathetic manner.

After the mission left, there was a gap of forty years of war and slave-raiding in which the area became largely depopulated. David Livingstone's son-in-law Alexander Low Bruce acquired a large estate that he named Magomero as part of his support for East and Central African commercial and missionary organisations. Soon after, he died leaving his African interests in trust to his two sons: "...in the hope and expectation that they will take an interest in the opening up of Africa to Christianity and Commerce on the lines laid down by their grandfather the late David Livingstone". The second part deals with how Low Bruce's aim was perverted, in particular by one grandson, Alexander Livingstone Bruce, who spent most of his adult life in Nyasaland and oversaw the estates on behalf of A. L. Bruce Estates Ltd, an exploitative commercial company, not a charitable trust as his father intended . Alexander Livingstone Bruce does not emerge with much clarity, although he remained in charge until 1952, when Magomero was sold to the government. White deals more fully with William Jervis Livingstone, a poor relation of the Livingstones and Bruces, who managed Magomero and dealt with its workers. These two Europeans attracted immigrants from Mozambique to the estate as labour tenants and treated them with increasing severity. This partly explains why Magomero was the centre of an uprising led by John Chilembwe on 1915 (its second noteworthy event): many of Chilembwe's supporters were immigrant labour tenants from the estate. The climax of the 1915 Nyasaland Rising was the murder of W. J. Livingstone. White treats him as a rather tragic figure, forced by the company for which he worked to make a profit by exploiting the estate tenants, and so becoming a hate figure for them.

The form of this exploitation, detailed in the second and third sections was called "thangata", a labour rent system that forced tenants to work for four, five or even six months a year on estate plantations of cotton or tobacco in lieu of rent and tax, leaving them little time to grow their own food and leaving them in poverty. Once the estate ceased to be able to make a profit growing cotton or tobacco (by 1925, both were unprofitable), it seemed to be on the verge of failure. However, the third section mentions a change in the law in 1928 that enabled A. L. Bruce Estates Ltd to demand that rents were paid in tobacco grown by tenants rather than them working directly for the company. They were still cheated and underpaid, and the company became no more than a broker to which their tenants had to sell their tobacco. Many tenants preferred to grow maize to sell in local markets, so Captain Kincaid-Smith, the general manager of Magomero, ordered the food crops to be uprooted. The government feared another rising and forced Kincaid-Smith to leave Nyasaland in 1939. After this, the company made further substantial losses, and announced it wished to sell Magomero. A survey showed that the estate had been badly managed and deforested and that its soil was exhausted. Even so, the government's need for land after a 1949 famine allowed Magomero to be sold at a profit in 1952.

The final short part describes Magomero in recent times. White continues his account of poverty beyond the sale of the Bruce Estates and abolition of thangata, through the neglect of the 1950s and 1960s up to the present day. In all, it is a story of continuity and change in one part of Africa. The themes of the problem of finding labour, migration, the formation of independent African churches as a response to the missions and the changing roles of men and women are all dealt with in detail, and what White says about one African village can be applied much more widely to past and current African concerns.
Binar
Now, there's no empirical way to prove the above statement, but given the dominance of social-science conventions in writing on African history, "Magomero" is an obvious front-runner. Landeg White is a gifted literary stylist, and this book often reads like a novel (when someone says that, make sure they're not thinking of "Finnegan's Wake"). It is a study of a village in southern Malawi (colonial Nyasaland) over 100+ years, but it is much more than that too.
White's sense of drama is aided by some highly dramatic personages who figure prominently in his story. The most famous is missionary-explorer David Livingstone, a perennially fascinating, complex and influential shaper of the continent's destiny. He visited Magomero, site of the ill-fated Universities' Mission to Central Africa, frequently on two expeditions in the 1850s and 1860s. White perceptively examines the ambiguities of Livingstone's antislavery crusade, not least the paradox of purchasing slaves in order to free them---thus inadvertently stimulating the market. But John Chilembwe is just as interesting: a Malawian Protestant minister and protonationalist who studied in the USA, founded an independent mission, and eventually died leading a doomed rebellion against British rule in 1915. The later chapters are not as event-oriented, but the lucid accounts of cash cropping and womens' work are probably more representative of daily life in the colonial era, and a major contribution to social and economic history.
"Magomero" does not have detailed source notes (they tend to scare off the mass audience White aims for here), but references to scholars' names without the titles of their works ensure that only specialists can swiftly identify White's sources. The other problem is that the author's own account of villagers' accepting his presence and explanation of his research is awkwardly unconvincing; it would be more credible in the words of Malawians themselves, without assuming that they care about associations with long-dead muzungus (Europeans). These minor faults aside, this is the most enjoyable scholarly book I've come across in nearly 20 years in African Studies. For more on the area's history, see E. Mandala, "Work and Control in a Peasant Economy" and M. Vaughan, "The Story of an African Famine." G. Shepperson & T. Price, "Independent African," a classic on Africa, tells the Chilembwe story with great depth and sensitivity. For an authentic Nyasaland account based on oral data from participants in the Rising, see G.S. Mwase, "Strike a Blow and Die."