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X-posted from H-SAfrica <firstname.lastname@example.org> From: "Joan Wardrop" <email@example.com> ___________ From: "Barry Morton" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Reply: Sources for Africans as Road-Cutting Gangs One pretty famous guy who did a lot of roadcutting for the Rhodesian government was Joram Mariga. Mariga, in the course of his road-building efforts in eastern Zimbabwe, actually rediscovered soapstone deposits that many people had searched for in light of the soapstone eagles at Great Zimbabwe. After finding the soapstone, Mariga (who came from a woodcarving family) began training his roadbuilders to carve the soapstone and they started selling curios to Europeans who travelled along the roads. Mariga eventually became one of Zimbabwe's greatest artists, and many of his road crew became sculptors as well. You can track this story in Ben Joosten, _Zimbabwean Stone Sculpture: The First Generation_ (2000?). I have interviewed dozens of old men who did road-building work in NW Botswana. Typically in the colonial era it was a male job carried out by the Tribal Authorities,and it was done only in the drier months, for 3-4 months a year. The jobs were heavily sought after by men who didn't own cattle, so that they did not have to engage in migrant labor to earn cash for hut taxes. In this part of the world the main roadbuilder in the 1930s and 1940s was Moanaphuti Segolodi, the first man in Botswana to espouse nationalist principles in writing. During the mid-1940s this work was taken over for about four years under the control of L.D. Raditladi, another important nationalist figure who is considered in some circles to be the preeminent writer in the Setswana language. My point is that in colonial Botswana prominent people engaged and directed roadbuilding activities because it was a good way to make decent money without having to go find a job in South Africa.