Accepted Paper:

Medicine and the racialization of work: the Mozambican miners in the Transvaal  


Valdemir Zamparoni (Federal University of Bahia)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will point out the characteristics of the recruitment, management and exploitation of the Mozambican migrant labour force in South Africa's gold mines focusing on western medicine's acted in the control of African workers, becoming increasingly racialized.

Paper long abstract:

After the military conquest in Mozambique - followed by the expropriation of sovereignty, land, cattle, military recruitment, taxes and forced labor - the accelerated capitalist expansion began to demand for an increasing and intensive incorporation of African workers in the agricultural properties, ports and urban commercial enterprises , but mainly as migrant labor for the mines. Since the last decade of the nineteenth century the economy of the colony of Mozambique has been tied to that of the neighboring Boer republic of the Transvaal where in the last quarter of the nineteenth century diamond, coal and gold were discovered. In order to escape the very poor conditions imposed by Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique, especially under compulsory or underpaid compulsory labor, military recruitment, hut tax (levied in gold from 1906), various forms of violence and other conditions imposed on the force thousands of workers sought to engage in contracts ranging from one to two years to the Transvaal gold mines. The poor conditions of recruitment, transportation, accommodation, food and work produced high rates of illness and death among workers, which required the employers and the State to create medical institutions that maximum economic profitability.

Panel P144
Laboring racialization in the lived experience of settling, moving, and making place