The Civilised Labour

During the First World War, the white miners' union1 had succeeded in enforcing wage-rate increases many times larger than those obtained by the unorganised Africans. But the position of the latter had in some respects improved because, through the emergency, they had been permitted to undertake semi-skilled work especially as drill-sharpeners. This opportunity for a small proportion of Africans mitigated the increased costs of mining gold, the price of which rose to a premium after the war for...

The First Colour Bar

A wide discrepancy between the earnings of Africans and the earnings of virtually unskilled white overseers seems to have been established as a tradition in the 1880s in the diamond mines. I have suggested that this discrepancy could be partly explained by the market forces of supply and demand. White supervisors were needed, whilst they had better-paid alternatives than the Africans. In so far as the notion of what was a 'fair and proper' remuneration for a white man may have influenced the...