Revamping the Mission

Fiona Vernal

in The Farmerfield Mission

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199843404
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950546 | DOI:
Revamping the Mission

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Chapter Seven explores the residents’ tenuous economic existence as they confronted the vulnerability of both arable and pastoral farming and local missionaries’ schemes to terminate the mission. Between the 1880s and the 1950s Farmerfield took on the characteristics of other African reserves filled with the elderly, women and children. Tenant contravention of mission rules further strained church support. The Methodist Church capped the population and voided the occupancy rights of the tenants’ heirs. The church also sold off portions of the estate, circumscribing residents to smaller plots of land in the 1920s and 1930s. Farmerfield remained an attractive settlement option, however, as Africans throughout South Africa confronted soil erosion in the reserves, further land dispossession, and little autonomy as labour tenants on white farms. While Farmerfield’s tenants could and did negotiate with the church, their counterparts in the country had little leverage with their employers or the state.

Keywords: reserves; tenant; apartheid

Chapter.  10723 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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