[BOOK REVIEW] Black business in South Africa dates back to the late Iron Age
Mining for iron ore – and the trading thereof – predates colonialism in South Africa
Khoi people traded with merchant ships before 1652
Organised Black business existed long before 1994
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Lester Kiewit interviewed Phakamisa Ndzamela about his book “Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa” (scroll up to listen to him beautifully weave the tale).
Native Merchants recounts how Black South African businessmen such as Walter Sisulu, Paul Xiniwe and John Tengo Jabavu were able to build very successful enterprises during colonial and apartheid eras when it was very difficult for black businessmen and women to operate and thrive.
It also dissects how colonial and apartheid governments used legislation to exclude black businesses.
As far back as then (late Iron Age), Black people… were mining iron ore… People would send their resources… in exchange for various Asian products…Phakamisa Ndzamela, author - Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa
Even before 1652… There was already merchant activity on the shoreline… Khoi people would trade meat or whatever service was required by merchant ships…Phakamisa Ndzamela, author - Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa
There are a lot of [Black] people that did business in South Africa way before 1994… In the Cape… the African People’s Organisation… wanted coloured and African people to work together to fight colonialism… In 1919, the APO started a building society in Claremont… Its shareholders were largely coloured people… In 1935… the APO building society had about 106 000 pounds in assets…Phakamisa Ndzamela, author - Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa
There was a lot of merchant activity in District Six before people were kicked out…Phakamisa Ndzamela, author - Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa
Diamond mining, the Khoi people… they were always eager to participate… Until some robber barons decided to push them out…Phakamisa Ndzamela, author - Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa
Description by NB Publishers:
Dispossession of fertile, mineral-rich land is correctly repeated as the root cause of the economic precarity of Black people in South Africa.
Colonial wars are rightly foregrounded but in a way that frames black people as having existed outside of organised enterprise.
This book builds and adds dimension to the picture of black people’s economic participation, taking the narrative from pre-colonial mining and spanning the colonial and apartheid periods, detailing tactics of economic exclusion.
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