‘Aliens’ on the Copperbelt: Citizenship, national identity and non-Zambian Africans in the mining industry
Abstract / Description:
This paper explores the removal of several thousand non-Zambian Africans from the mining industry following Zambian independence in 1964. This process has been curiously overlooked among the multitude of detailed studies on the mining industry and the policy of ‘Zambianization’, a policy usually regarded as being about the removal of the industrial colour bar on the mines. Yet the replacement of ‘alien Africans’ with Zambian nationals was a key objective of the Zambian Government. This sits uneasily with two aspects of the existing literature. The first is the assumption, in both academic literature and popular understanding, that Zambia is a place largely devoid of ethnic and nationalist tensions. The second is the emphasis on the development of a robust sense of class consciousness among the Copperbelt’s African mineworkers. Understanding why and how non-Zambians were removed from the mining industry also speaks to wider themes about the creation of citizenship and national identity. For one, this policy presupposed that the state and mining companies could reliably distinguish between the recently created categories of Zambian, Malawian, and Tanzanian, though this was not always the case. Moreover, demands that economic opportunities within national boundaries should be restricted to those regarded as legitimate members of that nation remain commonplace, and not only in Africa.
Presenter biography: Duncan Money is a historian of Central and Southern Africa with a particular interest in the mining industry. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Studies Group, University of the Free State and was awarded his DPhil in 2016 from the University of Oxford for his thesis on a social history of European migrants on the Zambian Copperbelt. His current research focuses on preparing his doctoral dissertation as a monograph and beginning a project on a comparative history of mining regions in southern Africa.