A Most Promising Weed examines the work experience, living conditions, and social relations of thousands of African men, women, and children on European-owned tobacco farms in colonial Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1945. Steven C. Rubert provides evidence that Africans were not passive in their responses to the penetration of European capitalism into Zimbabwe but, on the contrary, helped to shape both the work and living conditions they encountered as they entered wage employment.
Beginning with a brief history of tobacco growing in Zimbabwe, this study focuses on the organization of workers' compounds and on the paid and unpaid labor performed by both women and children on those farms.
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The originality of this study of rural transformation stems from the way in which Professor Kimambo has used the oral tradition to reveal the history of the impact of the world economy in northeastern Tanzania. First under the pressures of commodity trade, and later under German and British imperialism, the peasant producers of this region were forced into participation in capitalist production. These partial changes destroyed the Pare’s balanced subsistence structure.
The Moral Economy of the State examines state formation in Zimbabwe from the colonial period through the first decade of independence. Drawing on the works of Gramsci, E. P. Thompson, and James Scott, William Munro develops a theory of “moral economy” that explores negotiations between rural citizens and state agents over legitimate state incursions in social life.
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