King William's Town during the South African War, 1899-1902 : an urban, social, economic and cultural history

Webb, Denver Arnold (1993) King William's Town during the South African War, 1899-1902 : an urban, social, economic and cultural history. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis examines the urban social, economic and cultural history of a community under stress and in transition at the turn of the century. Two themes run through the study: how the residents responded to long-term challenges such as the decline of the town in relation to its nearest urban neighbour, the increasing significance of the black population of the town and district, and the end of the millennium; and secondly, the effects of the South African War on King William's Town society and how the residents perceived the various stresses it exerted on the town. Chapter 1, by way of introduction, provides a general overview of the history of King William's Town and of the current state of historical research on the town. It also examines historiographical strands reflected in this study, focusing on urban history, social history, local history and the new cultural history. The chapter ends with a brief note on sources and methodology. Chapter 2 sets the scene be examining the population of the town and district in relation to its eastern Cape neighbours. It briefly explores the settlement patterns in the town, and the social divisions and racial attitudes manifested by its inhabitants. The third chapter provides a study of the town's economy with particular emphasis on the mercantile sector, agriculture and manufacturing. The informal sector, domestic service and labour relations are also explored. Political processes in this period are dealt with in Chapter 4. The 1898 elections and the re-alignment of political allegiances, the outbreak of the war, the main political issues that emerged and the suppression of the Imvo Zabantsundu newspaper are discussed. Chapter 5 provides an examination of military aspects of the town and district during the war. The impact of the imperial garrison, the attitudes of the residents to the war and the imposition and effects of martial law are amongst the topics covered. The next chapter deals with municipal matters, with particular reference to the townspeople's attitudes to Borough status, public health and sanitation, municipal locations and residential segregation, and the various successes and failures of the Borough Council during the war. The seventh chapter focuses on crime, legislation and social control in the town. The number and type of criminal incidents during the period are analyzed, the various laws establishing the parameters of society and the manner in which these were applied are examined. Chapter 8 seeks to define the cultural contours of the town, looking at religion, the large number of different clubs and societies, sport and recreation. It explores the way in which cultural pursuits were both a reflection and a reinforcement of the social, political and economic order. The ninth and final chapter links the preceding themes with regard to the effects of the war on King William's Town society, with particular reference to the mentalité of the community as displayed in the attitudes of the residents to the various developments discussed in the body of the thesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:South African War, South Africa, King William's Town, Imvo Zabantsundu, Military history, Crime, Local government, Industries, Commerce, Race relations
Subjects:D World History and History of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, etc > DT Africa > South Africa
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > History
ID Code:2664
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:19 Apr 2012 12:25
Last Modified:19 Apr 2012 12:25
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