Mozambique African Studies 81112 and Vaughan The Story of an

Mozambique african studies 81112 and vaughan the

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Mozambique,”African Studies Review39 (1996): 81–112; and Vaughan,The Story of an African Famine.83Colleen Kriger shows how ethnographic accounts of cotton textile production have overlookedwomen’s work by failing to consider the household in “Economy, Society and Material Culture in Ni-geria: Textile Production and Gender in the Sokoto Caliphate,”Journal of African History34 (1993):361–401. Women were especially burdened by the coercive cotton drives of Mozambique, while menwere forced into cane fields, as Leroy Vail and Landeg White argue in “ ‘Tawani, Machambero!’ ForcedCotton and Rice Growing on the Zambezi,”Journal of African History19 (1978): 239–263.A German Alabama in Africa1381AMERICANHISTORICALREVIEWDECEMBER2005
did help women pick cotton, but they neither grew nor spun it. Women sold yarn toweavers, all of whom were male, and from whom they in turn bought cloth. Whilecheap English fabric did not compete well with the sturdier and more luxurious localweaves, chemically dyed yarn gradually pushed out the products of local spinners.The Ewe, like many West African textile producers, dyed yarn with locally grownindigo, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that made it difficult for Af-rican spinners to compete successfully with their European counterparts.84This shiftto yarn supplied by American growers and European spinners struck at an importantsource of Ewe women’s income, while leaving male weavers relatively unaffected.Ewe men gained new economic opportunities under German rule, even as theirwives and daughters saw their economic opportunities shrink. With the growth of thestate and the mercantile economy, men with little property or education could earnas much in wages from a day carrying goods as they could from the produce of oneor even two weeks of farming.85Mission schools throughout West Africa had longprovided young men with opportunities for economic advancement within the in-stitutions of European power and with personal autonomy from domestic author-ities.86The academic instruction these schools offered gave men the skills necessaryto become clerks for merchant houses or government offices. Some also offeredtraining in skilled trades that similarly gave young men greater personal and eco-nomic autonomy than did labor within agricultural households. One Togoleseteacher at a mission school expressed a common view when he complained that hisstudents “see school as a form of protection from fieldwork. They believe they canlaze about here undisturbed, protected from their fathers, who want to take themalong to the field.”87In fact, white-collar or skilled work, in Togo as elsewhere,offered higher wages and personal freedom than farming did. Students left the fieldsand entered the schools not because they were lazy, but rather because they de-sired wealth and independence, and perhaps in hopes of becoming one of the Ewe“dandies” and “gentlemen” who marked the urban environment of Lome´.

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