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Laboring Under an Illusion: Erasing Female Public Labor in Post-Abolition Zanzibar Islands, 1890–1910

Des travailleuses oubliées : l’effacement du travail public des femmes dans l’archipel de Zanzibar après l’abolition de l’esclavage, 1890-1910
Trabajadoras obviadas: el borramiento del trabajo público de las mujeres en el archipiélago de Zanzíbar después de la abolición de la esclavitud (1890-1910)
Trabalhadoras escamoteadas : Apagando o trabalho público feminino nas Ilhas Zanzibar da pós-abolição, 1890-1910
Elisabeth McMahon

Résumés

Les femmes ont joué un rôle essentiel dans la force de travail des États côtiers d’Afrique de l’Est au cours des xixe et xxe siècles. Pourtant, leurs corps ont disparu des récits historiques consacrés à la main-d’œuvre publique et qualifiée. L’administration coloniale écrivit abondamment au sujet de la main-d’œuvre africaine le long de la côte swahilie en abordant différents aspects : comment trouver des bras, comment les forcer à travailler, quelles catégories de main-d’œuvre recruter, quelles compétences ouvrières mobiliser, combien les payer, comment transporter les travailleurs efficacement là où on avait besoin d’eux, etc. Cependant, cette même administration, lorsqu’elle écrivait au sujet du travail féminin, éliminait souvent toute mention des femmes comme composante de la main-d’œuvre qualifiée et occultait aussi leur statut de travailleuses libres dans la période postérieure à l’abolition. Au xixe siècle, les femmes et les jeunes filles étaient présentes dans la main-d’œuvre publique de l’ensemble des populations littorales, mais la lecture des archives laissées par les fonctionnaires et les historiens coloniaux pourrait suggérer le contraire. Cet effacement épistémique a orienté la façon dont les historiens ont réfléchi et écrit au sujet de la main-d’œuvre dans toute l’Afrique de l’Est côtière. Les fonctionnaires coloniaux ont masculinisé pratiquement toute forme de main-d’œuvre publique, et en particulier la main-d’œuvre qualifiée – qu’il s’agît de travailleurs libres ou forcés –, un effacement souvent reproduit dans le travail des historiens. Ce dernier perpétue dès lors la vision coloniale réifiée d’une force de travail idéalisée, c’est-à-dire dominée par la main-d’œuvre masculine qualifiée et ne comprenant qu’un faible nombre de travailleuses manuelles peu qualifiées.
La croyance britannique en la « bienveillance » des propriétaires d’esclaves arabes était très ancienne, et elle fut mise en avant par les fonctionnaires de l’archipel de Zanzibar pour justifier la lenteur de leur réponse à la demande de la métropole d’abolir l’esclavage. Le « concept d'indulgence », pour reprendre l’expression utilisée par Marek Pawelczak, était si omniprésent dans les rapports coloniaux que les historiens du xxie siècle s’y réfèrent encore aujourd’hui pour expliquer le caractère « modéré » de l’esclavage dans l’archipel de Zanzibar qui n’exigeait « pas plus de douze heures de labeur » au cours d’une semaine donnée. Au cœur du « concept d'indulgence » est dissimulée une certaine vision de l’esclavage qui serait entièrement lié à la sphère domestique, et par conséquent implicitement féminisé. Plus insidieux encore, ce concept d'indulgence fut utilisé par les fonctionnaires britanniques à la fin des années 1890 pour à la fois justifier le fait d’autoriser la poursuite de l’esclavage, et effacer la place des travailleuses composant la main-d’œuvre, en en faisant plutôt des travailleuses « domestiques », qui appartenaient dès lors à l’espace du foyer. Dès 1895, les descriptions de femmes réduites en esclavage devenaient soit des images de concubines entretenues luxueusement, lesquelles étaient par essence des « épouses secondaires », soit des portraits d’épouses ou de mères. Les hommes étaient réduits en esclavage, les femmes étaient des épouses, et les enfants disparaissaient purement et simplement du tableau. De la même manière, je défends ici l’idée que décrire la main-d’œuvre comme un ensemble dégenré d’acteurs historiques oblitère des composantes essentielles de l’histoire et déforme notre compréhension du passé. Les distorsions inhérentes aux archives coloniales ont perpétué un effacement dans la littérature contemporaine sur la main-d’œuvre dans l’Afrique de l’Est, ce qui constitue un acte de violence épistémique.

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1Enslaved females were everywhere working. They carried vegetables, mangrove poles, cooked food, and water through the market places of the Zanzibar Islands in the 19th century. Walking through the streets of the islands offered a panoramic view of the range of female laborers. They carried the lime, coral stones, mangrove poles, and water for building construction. They loudly and publicly pounded the floors of new buildings and wove the thatch used for roofs. They coaled steamships after 1850, shoveling the coal into baskets and head-loading the coal to the sheds, so it could be transshipped to boats for transport to the steamships in the bay. They were the domestic farmers, growing most of the produce eaten in the islands. In every community and household, females of all ages could be found weaving baskets, mats, thatch and creating other household necessities. Near streams they were collecting water and washing clothes, collecting wood for fires for cooking. During the clove seasons they were pickers, as well as in charge of drying, sorting, and packaging all the cloves. Women participated in aquaculture, collecting crabs and other crustaceans and small fish in the shallow waters. They were artisans in hairdressing and beautification. Most births were attended by female midwives. Female converts to Christianity (most of whom were ex-slaves) became teachers, nurses, and in some cases female overseers on mission stations. Everywhere in the 19th century, female laborers helped build the infrastructure along the Swahili coast and kept these communities and economies functioning. Female labor was enslaved and free, it was visible and skilled.

  • 1 Throughout the article I use “female” as an inclusive term for anyone living as female of any age. (...)

2As seen in the plethora of photographs featuring females working, girls and women workers were central to the coastal East African labor force during the 19th and early 20th centuries, yet their bodies have disappeared from the historical narratives of public and skilled labor. Colonial officials wrote copiously about African labor along the Swahili coast; how to find laborers, how to coerce them into working, the categories of labor, what skills laborers held, how much they should be paid, how to efficiently move them to where they were needed, among many other aspects. However, these same officials, when writing about female laborers, often eliminated mention of females from both the skilled workforce and from their status as an equal portion of free laborers in the post-abolition era. Women and girls in the 19th century were present in the public labor force throughout littoral communities, yet reading the records of colonial officials and historians would suggest otherwise.1 This epistemic violence has warped the way historians have thought and written about labor across coastal eastern Africa. Colonial officials gendered almost all forms of public, and, particularly, skilled labor, as male – for both enslaved and freed workers – an erasure often mimicked in the work of historians, thus reifying colonial views of an idealized labor force that was dominated by skilled male laborers with few low-skill female manual workers.

3While the Omani Sultan claimed suzerainty over part of the East Africa coast in the late 17th century, it was not until the 1830s that he moved his capital to Zanzibar Island. Before the 1830s colonies of Omani merchants, fleeing control of the Omani state, built their businesses, homes, and families along the coast. The Sultan’s move to Zanzibar was impelled equally by the potential wealth of trade and plantation agriculture in the islands and a desire to exert control over rebel Omani already living along the coast. As more Omani Arabs moved to the Zanzibar islands to build plantations, they purchased increasing numbers of enslaved workers, expanding the demand for enslaved people from the African mainland. As the trade in captives arriving on the coast expanded, more people were sold into the wider Indian Ocean world including the Persian Gulf, the Mascarene Islands, and into the South Atlantic. The gendered demand for slaves shifted over time and place, but the preference for males in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean increased over the 19th century, leaving more females working in the Zanzibar Islands (Hopper 2015).

  • 2 For more information about British concerns, see Cooper 1980, chapter 2; Welliver 1990: 60–120; Fa (...)
  • 3 See Africa No. 6, 1895. Includes letters from Rennell Rodd, Consul General at Zanzibar, December 3 (...)
  • 4 For a detailed discussion of the problem of treating concubines as “secondary wives” see McMahon 2 (...)

4While the British government worked to chip away at the Indian Ocean slave trade through increasingly strict treaties with the Omani sultans between 1822 and 1873, it was not until it declared a Protectorate over the Zanzibari Sultanate in 1890 that an abolition of slavery itself (as opposed to the slave trade) was discussed as possible. However, colonial officials on the ground in Zanzibar in the 1890s had a conundrum – how to abolish slavery while not losing the labor force that produced the wealth for colonial business interests, including those of Europeans, Omanis, and Indian merchants. Concern over where the slaves would go and whether they would continue working after emancipation delayed any action on the part of British Protectorate officials.2 The lessons of emancipation in India and Egypt remained in the minds of administrators, who regularly complained to the Home Office that if they emancipated the slaves, it would wreck the islands’ economy.3 However, with ongoing pressures from missionaries and people in the metropole, the Foreign Office pressed officials on the ground to abolish slavery. The British belief in the “benevolence” of Arab slave-owners was a longstanding one, a belief that officials in the Zanzibar Islands used to justify their slow response to the metropole’s demand for the abolition of slavery. The “benignity concept,” as Marek Pawelczak termed it, was so pervasive in colonial reports that historians into the 21st century still use it as an argument for why slavery in the Zanzibar islands was “mild” and required “not more than twelve hours’ labour” in any given week (Pawelczak 2010: 66–67; Wahab 2016: 59). Hidden within the “benignity concept” is an image of enslavement as wholly domestic, and therefore implicitly feminized. What is more insidious about the benignity concept is that British officials used it in the late 1890s both to justify allowing slavery to continue and figuratively to erase female enslaved laborers as workers, rather making them “domestics” and as such part of the household. Beginning in 1895, descriptions of an enslaved female became either one of a luxuriously kept concubine who was in essence a “secondary wife” or simply of a wife and mother.4 Men were enslaved, women were wives, and children were no longer part of the conversation at all. It is essential to reintroduce women and children as enslaved laborers to see their labor in the post-abolition period and to understand how they continued to work but became invisible in the historical records.

5During the 19th century, Omani patriarchal culture became embedded in Zanzibar society, paving the way for later British patriarchal ideals. Both forms of patriarchy focused on the demands for the honor or respectability of females through control over their bodies and movement, “to protect their honor.” Under Omani patriarchy, enslaved people had no honor, thus enslaved females needed no protection but had only to remain under the control of a slave-owner. This allowed freedom of movement for enslaved females, as long as they obeyed their owners, in contrast to the limits on movement placed on freeborn and elite females. British patriarchy allowed for public movement of all females but demanded that they live under a male head of household, thus conflating the ideas of protection of honor and control over bodies. With abolition, formerly enslaved females gained legal autonomy, which British officials did not expect the females to claim, creating a crisis for officials who sought to place all females under a male head of household through marriage, guardianship, or labor contracts. Both forms of patriarchy demanded females participate in domestic life. However, they differed fundamentally in how they viewed the forms and places of labor by enslaved females.

  • 5 Thaddeus Sunseri’s work on the mainland demonstrates that German colonial officials wanted female (...)

6Helen Bradford’s pivotal 1996 article on gendering South African history alerted readers to three forms of epistemic violence: when both colonial officials and historians lump together “women and children,” when the male gender is used to stand in for all historical actors (e.g. Maasai were said to herd cattle and practice fighting in their youth, even though only male Maasai do those things), and not carefully reading colonial documents through a lens of gender (Bradford 1996: 351–370). Similarly, I argue here that referring to laborers as ungendered historical actors obliterates significant pieces of history and distorts our understanding of the past (ibid.). The distortions in colonial recordkeeping have perpetuated an epistemic erasure in contemporary literature on labor in eastern Africa, which is an act of epistemic violence.5 For example, Frederick Cooper’s 1980 book From Slaves to Squatters, one of the most cited historical works on coastal East African agricultural labor, carefully leaves enslaved laborers ungendered. Cooper’s description of enslaved agricultural workers remained ungendered, even though he provided data demonstrating that 59% of agricultural slaves on Pemba Island seeking their emancipation were female (Cooper 1980: 97). While Cooper acknowledged in the book “how full a part women had played in the plantation economy,” he presumed that males were the majority of enslaved people seeking freedom. He argued that the high numbers of enslaved females seeking their freedom from the government was due to their “lesser degree of mobility” rather than to their numerical dominance in the workforce. Cooper explicitly makes the case that males were the majority of the enslaved agricultural workforce, even while using evidence that contradicted his interpretation (ibid. : 74). Instead of exploring why colonial officials obfuscated the data that showed the importance of female laborers, Cooper replicates colonial language, as for instance when he mentions that clove pickers traveled to Pemba and “women and children joined the migration,” indicating that somehow “women and children” were not also working (ibid.: 97). As photo 1 demonstrates, “women and children” were certainly part of the agricultural labor force, whether enslaved or free.

Photo 1. Clove picking, Zanzibar

Photo 1. Clove picking, Zanzibar

Postcard, A. C. Gomes & Son, photographers, circa 1890 to circa 1939. Please note the presence of “women and children” as pickers.

Image courtesy of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Winterton Collection, Northwestern University Libraries. Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https://dc.library.northwestern.edu/​items/​d8e54e4e-2e80-42c1-bfda-6538e671e264

7Gender as a theoretical construct had not yet become mainstream in the late 1970s when Cooper was writing his book. Nonetheless, in giving data that demonstrated the larger numbers of female laborers and then disregarding the evidence in favor of a colonialist presentation of workers as male and “women and children” as ancillary, he influenced generations of scholars, who cite From Slaves to Squatters prodigiously, to justify ignoring the data regarding the numbers of enslaved women. Jan-Georg Deutsch wrestled with a similar phenomenon in the German Freibrief records, noting that more women sought Freibrief, even though colonial officials generally referred to enslaved people without gender or used male pronouns (Deutsch 2006: 217). However, instead of writing off the discrepancies in the data, Deutsch recognized them as problematic. He noted nonetheless that until scholars can find hard and fast data proving who made up the majority of enslaved people “this problem will remain unsolved” (Deutsch 2006: 218). Neither Cooper nor Deutsch were comfortable acknowledging the full economic role of enslaved female labor. The use of descriptions of “skilled” laborers is another means colonial officials and later historians used to encode enslaved labor as male.

  • 6 For example, Jonathon Glassman categorized mafundi or skilled craftspeople as exclusively male by (...)
  • 7 Laura Fair’s work is an important exception. She notes that females were half the labor force duri (...)

8My goal here is to demonstrate what happens when a person or group is misgendered and how that misunderstanding shapes the history we write. Though gender was not a frame of analysis he was using at the time, Cooper took care to only use the presumptive pronoun “he” when referring to a specific person, and not to all enslaved persons. Instead, he used the language he found in the colonial sources, which sought to presumptively gender workers as male. However, as I will show, colonial language was designed to erase female public and skilled labor.6 Continuing to misgender historical figures exemplifies the colonial efforts to erase women from the political and social landscape of the time. With a few exceptions, most scholars of Zanzibar continue to replicate (and cite) the language offered by Cooper in 1980.7 If we place female laborers into the narrative of coastal history we can see where and how females tried to reshape their lives at abolition. Working as public and skilled laborers afforded enslaved and recently freed women an opportunity to live outside the constraints of a patriarchal household.

Visualizing females in the sources

  • 8 This photograph was in an album dated 1905. Thus the image is from the period before that date. He (...)

9The men, dressed in the clothing of waungwana (Arab and Swahili elite), watch over the women working to spread the recently picked cloves to dry on mats, which the women undoubtedly wove themselves for this purpose (see Photo 2). This circa 1900 photograph offers us insight into one of the many jobs that women performed in the Zanzibar islands during the 19th and 20th centuries. The image captures the men standing still, overseeing the work, and one of the women in the foreground is blurred, in motion, unable to stop working long enough to allow a clear exposure for the photograph. Her dress, a dark indigo kaniki, contrasts with the patterned kanga of the other women, indicating her lowly status.8 Britain declared an abolition of slavery in 1897 for the region. However, enslaved people had to seek out their emancipation and individually go to court to get a freedom paper. The woman in the foreground, blurred in this image, may have been enslaved or freed yet her movement suggests that she either did not want to or did not think she was allowed to stop moving long enough for the photographer to get an exposure.

Photo 2. Drying cloves, Zanzibar

Photo 2. Drying cloves, Zanzibar

Album of original photographs of Zanzibar. Unidentified photographers, 1905, photograph 2, page 17.

Image courtesy of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Winterton Collection, Northwestern University Libraries. Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https://dc.library.northwestern.edu/​items/​bced17ec-8b41-44f7-801e-ab9f9e3d4e20

  • 9 For a detailed discussion of cicatrix see Domingues da Silva & Alpers 2021: 377–393.

10Photography was not something new to Zanzibar when Photo 2 was taken. Pereira de Lord opened the first photography studio on the Swahili coast in 1870. By 1890, four other Goan-owned firms had opened studios in Zanzibar Town and Mombasa. Photography flourished along with British colonization of the littoral region, to such a degree that by 1900 photography studios were also selling cameras and film directly to customers (Meier 2019: 48–69). Sale of postcards to the predominantly male travelers and sailors off the many American, European, and Asian ships that passed through the region was a booming business for the studios, which perhaps explains why so many of the postcard images are of African (and some Arab) women dressed in beautiful garments and jewelry. These images were not the ethnographic studies so typical of early European photography in Africa. These staged photographs presented an image of Zanzibari females as young, beautiful, and alluringly dressed. But, as Napandulwe Shiweda reminds scholars, we cannot treat photos as “unmediated transcription[s] of reality.” (Shiweda 2019: 184) Many of the females in the photos have cicatrix, indicating they came from the mainland and were enslaved. The reality of their lives may have been very different from the staged images of the studios.9

11Shiweda’s warning to not treat photos as “unmediated transcripts” of a historical truth echoes the work of Ariella Azoulay, who asks viewers of photographs to think about what or who is missing from the images (Azoulay 2019: 238–240). She argues that colonial states shape photos to tell narratives they want to present to the world, to bolster their construction of events, and justify their actions. However, in Zanzibar the colonial state was not in control of the production and distribution of photos, all of which were done by privately-owned photography studios. Rather than remove people/events from the historical record as Azoulay suggests, photos from late 19th and early 20th century Zanzibar insert female laborers into a written historical record that obscured their significance. The written record of female laborers suggests they were marginal to the plantation and urban economies of Zanzibar and rather played a key role domestically, yet the photographic record offers insight into the many spheres of the Zanzibar economy that enslaved females participated in. Although there is no shortage of staged studio portraits from Zanzibar, the landscape scenes of the islands enable historians to see the quotidian work of enslaved female laborers. Thus we must consider Azoulay’s question of who is missing, but also who is visible in images but is missing from other historical sources. Sometimes photographs can illuminate who has been hidden in plain sight.

12In contrast to the studio portraits, the other images that include females are street and landscape scenes such as the photos shown here. In the studio portraits, females look at the camera, but in photos of females laboring they are either positioned facing away from the camera or looking at it with unidentifiable emotions. In Photo 2, the men all face the camera but none of the female workers are doing so. Prita Meier notes that respectability dictated that photos be sex-segregated, however, many photos that include enslaved females are not (Meier 2019: 60). This dichotomy points to the position of enslaved females as being outside of Omani patriarchy; as I noted earlier there is no expectation of protecting enslaved females and their reputations. Men showed their dominance in the photos by facing the camera, standing over the working enslaved females. Julie MacArthur argues colonial agents used imperial photography to make claims on African landscapes and the people captured in the images; the submissive or working position of females in these landscape images projected an image of colonial domestication of female labor, yet the woman in Photo 2’s movement suggests resistance to control (MacArthur 2022: 68–82).

13Females were everywhere in landscape photos from Zanzibar, suggesting their pervasive role as laborers, but numerous photos also show their resistance to colonial attempts to control their bodies. In returning to Photo 2, we must consider why the female laborer in the foreground continued to move, when everyone else held themselves still. In “listening” to photographic images, Tina Campt argues, “the quotidian must be understood as a practice rather than an act/ion. It is a practice honed by the dispossessed in the struggle to create possibility within the constraints of everyday life.” (Campt 2017: 4) Perhaps we can see recalcitrance in her disobedience towards the male photographer, or perhaps the momentary refusal in this image points to the daily coercion that enslaved females experienced. If we “listen” to her, as Campt suggests, through the vibrations of her energy visible in the photograph itself, her work echoes into the present, reminding historians of her presence, knowledge, and historical importance. This female’s movement in the photograph challenges the conceptual framework that agricultural laborers were leisurely: rather we see that enslaved people felt compelled to work hard and quickly. Colonial officials’ ideas of enslaved benignity created a narrative of enslaved laborers as working slowly, ploddingly without punishment, yet her movement suggests otherwise (Pawelczak 2010: 66–67). If enslaved and recently freed workers hated working so much, as colonial officials suggest, why did she not take the opportunity to stand still, to rest? In her blur, she left an indelible imprint that leaps from the image, forcing viewers to rethink the meaning of her movement. Her blurred image reminds viewers that if female laborers stopped working in Zanzibar, half the workforce would be gone. Photographs offer historians an essential source for “listening” to female laborers and seeing their vital role in public labor.

Writing female labor into Zanzibari history

  • 10 Steere 1884 dictionary.
  • 11 Even in the early 2000s women were still working as vibarua in construction. Thus, even though res (...)
  • 12 Similar systems of employment among urban enslaved workers are found across the Americas in the 18(...)

14An evolution of daily labor occurred across the urban ports of eastern Africa after 1840 with the booming trade economies and the expansion of the European presence on the coast and into the interior. Daily laborers hired by individuals, businesses, and governments, called vibarua (sing. kibarua), were named for the “ticket” or paper they received for their work.10 They could then cash in their “tickets” for pay. Vibarua could be female or male, free or enslaved. The only criteria was that they were hired on a daily basis to do manual labor, usually carrying headloads, although many also did domestic labor on a short-term basis (Christie 1876: 408; Mackenzie 1895; Newman 1898: 61; Leigh & Kirkman 1980: 297).11 Merchants from Europe (after 1840), America (after 1865), and South Asia (enforced after 1858) could not buy or own slaves but they all needed laborers, thus African and Arab enslavers increasingly hired out enslaved people to earn daily wages. Cash-strapped owners expanded their anemic incomes by allowing enslaved people to hire themselves out in urban spaces, with an expectation of a monthly cash payment to the owner.12 As I will discuss further below, a hierarchy developed such that merchants and colonial officials treated some daily laborers/carriers as more skilled and called them hamali, who were exclusively male, while the term vibarua denoted “unskilled” laborers, who were often female.

  • 13 See Christie 1876: 315–319; he also mentions women in the markets of Ethiopia (ibid.: 212).

15In the 1860s and 1870s, the morning market of Zanzibar town was lined with street hawkers selling everything needed by workers to get through the day, including betel-nuts, pepper-leaf, lime, and tobacco to make the betel leaf chew, a mild intoxicant that boosted chewers’ energy and gave them a euphoric feeling in preparation for another grueling day of manual labor.13 Near the line of barbers, betel chew, and shark sellers were the “water-girls,” selling water to slaves, workers, and townspeople who did not have domestic servants they could send to the wells and creeks on the edges of town (Christie 1876: 319).

16The limited use of large animals along the Swahili coast required that most of the produce and other items for sale were head-loaded into town, work that was done by low status workers, mostly enslaved people. In 1870, Dr. Christie, a longtime European resident of Zanzibar Town, described the morning trek of produce-sellers into the city to sell their wares at the market; photo 3 shows the long line of carts and people in the distance, indicating the morning commute. The women in the foreground are transporting water, which was an important commodity in the marketplace. Fourteen years after Christie, William Beehlers described large numbers of women “in all the thoroughfares” of Zanzibar, with “large water-jugs on their heads, going to and from the reservoirs.” (Beehler 1885: 174) Female vibarua were everywhere in public spaces as carriers and sellers of commodities.

Photo 3. The Main Road to Zanzibar

Photo 3. The Main Road to Zanzibar

Source: Scribner's Magazine, no. 29/3, March 1901 Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https://archive.org/​details/​scribnersmagazin29newy/​page/​258/​mode/​2up?view=theater

17While Zanzibari markets are often described by colonial writers as male spaces, photographs give demonstrable evidence that enslaved and free female laborers moved through and labored in these spaces. Photo 4, circa 1900 shows female laborers carrying mangrove poles, produce, and prepared food items. It also shows female customers, who are covering their heads, with the clothing demonstrating the different social classes of females moving through the marketplace. The kaniki-clad girl in the foreground was likely of the lowest status, either still enslaved in 1900 or recently freed. In opposition, the two females to the left of the image have fully covered their heads and are not carrying a headload, suggesting they are free but not elite. Laura Fair’s work demonstrates the malleability of status through clothing, and the ways newly freed females sought to shift their identities through dress after 1900 (Fair 1998: 63–94). However, any females moving through the public streets during the day were likely of a lower economic status. Otherwise they would not have subjected themselves to the physical dangers inherent in moving through “male” spaces.

Photo 4. Native market, Darazani

Photo 4. Native market, Darazani

Album of original photographs of Zanzibar. Coutinho Bros., circa 1900, page 39

Image courtesy of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Winterton Collection, Northwestern University Libraries. Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https:/dc.library.northwestern.edu/items/7aee9e93-17f7-4077-a365-8cba88302285

18For enslaved female laborers, working as a vibarua offered a modicum of independence in their quotidian existence. The line between free and enslaved, especially in the urban context, was less obvious than in the plantation zones where control over enslaved people was more closely monitored. With the 1897 emancipation order in the Zanzibar Islands, the numbers of female vibarua swelled as freed women sought to leave agriculture and gain independence by moving to work in cities and towns as vibarua. By 1900, female laborers were visible in the towns of the Zanzibar Islands, in ways that colonial officials found deeply troubling. While colonial documents may have obfuscated the importance of female vibarua in town, photographs place female laborers at the center of economic activities.

Hierarchies of labor

  • 14 The Swahili coast has a long history of debates over identity, ethnicity, and race. For my purpose (...)

19Defining work in a hierarchical system of “skill” has a long history in European societies (Linder 1985). Along with their prejudiced view of African societies as pre-industrial, European men brought their ideas about work to their interaction with enslaved laborers in Zanzibar in the 19th century. The only African workers deemed “skilled” were tradesmen, males who worked in trades that Europeans identified as valuable, such as boat, house, and furniture building.14 However, Europeans did not value all African skilled workers. For example, they did not value the expertise of indigenous medical practitioners, even though Africans recognized them as skilled. Colonial officials created a hierarchy of expertise based on their definition of what was valuable work. Consequently, female laborers were never classified as “skilled” and their contribution to the labor force was diminished by British officials, travelers, and missionaries. The men who placed the coral stone (carried to the worksite by women) into a house frame were builders, and thus skilled. The women who pounded and leveled floors in new buildings and wove makuti (thatch for house roofs) were not skilled workers because the work was not classified by European men as “industrial”, although at times there was little distinction between the work of females and males. The idea of “skilled” labor, as colonial officials constructed it in Zanzibar, bifurcated work in ways that were based on gender rather than knowledge. This system enabled colonial officials to erase female labor as a significant contribution to Zanzibari society.

20Unsurprisingly, labor defined as “skilled” by colonial officials was remunerated at a higher rate. However, as Laura Fair notes, even among so-called unskilled laborers on the docks, females “suffered wage discrimination, typically earning only one-half to two-thirds of the wages paid to their male counterparts.” (Fair 2001: 34) The men who built the walls of houses were skilled, the women who leveled the floors were unskilled. The men who picked cloves were skilled but the females drying, stemming, and bagging the cloves were unskilled. Even among so-called unskilled laborers, females were not treated as a discrete group with ability. For example, female water-carriers and vibarua had to balance heavy loads, which required skill and practice, but they were never treated with the respect or the payment of the hamali porters at the docks or long-distance porters in mainland caravans, who were doing similar labor. When listing forms of labor in reports, officials separated out the hamali porters, and vibarua, even though they were all carriers. Vibarua were often framed as male laborers with a notation that some of them were also female. However, I would argue that the treatment of vibarua in the documents suggests a feminization of the labor category. Vibarua were not treated as skilled or respected laborers because a significant portion, if not the majority, of them were females. The one concession made by colonial officials to local values of labor was to recognize female labor as skilled in compensation claims paid to owners by the government when enslaved people were emancipated. Female domestic laborers such as cooks, housekeepers, and other domestic workers were compensated at the same rate as enslaved tradesmen (Wahab 2016: 53). While colonial officials may have undervalued female laborers, slave-owners did not, and demanded that their female slaves be valued equally to the most valuable male slaves.

21In the records of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA), a group photo labeled “slaves - ship coolies” features a fearsome gang of steely-eyed urban laborers. This group coaled the steamships that began arriving in the Zanzibar port after 1850.15 Some stood with their muscular arms crossed, while others held the shovels they used to lift the coal, and others knelt, hands resting on their legs. All had cloth wrapped around their heads to balance the heavy baskets they carried on their heads across the uneven, shifting sand from the coalhouse to the boats. Eighteen women stared into the camera of the missionary photographer who asked them to pose. Eighteen enslaved women who did the heavy labor of coaling steam ships. This image is marked by the same kinds of indicators of strength and skill found in photos of porters or hamalis. The difference between hamalis and vibarua was one of gender, not skill. And yet, we see little scholarship that looks at the role these females played in building the infrastructure and economy of the Omani empire in eastern Africa.

  • 16 German colonial officials were much more willing to write about female laborers. For more discussi (...)

22Enslaved women and girls in the 19th century were central to the urban and rural labor force throughout the Zanzibar Islands, yet reading the records of British colonial officials would suggest otherwise. This violent epistemic erasure has warped the way historians have written about female enslaved workers across the coastal region of eastern Africa. Male-centric jobs such as soldiers, long-distance porters, clove pickers, or dockhands dominate scholarly analyses in East Africa (Cooper 1980 and 1987; Glassman, 1995; Rockel 2006; Bissell 2011).16 It is easier to find these discrete categories of labor because colonial officials made them visible in the record, prioritizing and shaping the way historians write about work on the East African coast.

A Colonial Project

23The Slavery Commissioner for Pemba Island, John Farler, worked for the Sultanate government, yet also reported to the British Foreign Office. He wrote to the Foreign Office in 1900 about his efforts to create a labor bureau for recently freed slaves. He reported,

  • 17 FO [Foreign Office, hereafter FO] 403/309 Further Correspondence Respecting East Africa, 1901, Inc (...)

“instead of the freed slave wandering about trying to find a home, often dragging a woman and children after him (frequently ending in their all becoming vagrants), a home was found for him under the sanction of the Court, his new residence was registered, and proper contracts were made for him with his new master, as to hours of work, the amount of land to be allotted to him, and care in sickness.”17

  • 18 No definitive ratio of female to male enslaved workers exists. In many cases the ratios come from (...)
  • 19 Farler was not alone in his gendering of enslavement as male. In his book on Pemba in 1898, Henry (...)
  • 20 For a useful discussion of colonial facades around domesticity without actual changes in indigenou (...)
  • 21 This scholarship is well developed in the U.S.: see the work of Eileen Boris (Boris & Daniels 1989 (...)

24Even though Farler knew that females made up over half of emancipated slaves, nowhere in his statement is the woman classified as enslaved, emancipated, or a worker at all.18 She is not a laborer but rather baggage being “dragged” with the newly freed male laborer.19 Farler did not recognize her as the person most likely to plant the land “allotted to him,” even though women were the primary agricultural laborers for food crops, nor was her labor written into the contract included in Farler’s calculations. In Farler’s mind, typifying colonial officials’ ideas around gendered separate spheres of domesticity and public work, by her work a wife would support her husband and the household; she was not seen as an independent worker or as a member of the public labor force.20 This image of female labor as subsumed under that of male householders was an illusion that colonial officials presented to the Home Office, but they knew the reality was otherwise. As soon as slaves began getting their freedom, formerly enslaved men were turned into heads of households and formerly enslaved females were to become dependents who worked only in the household.21

  • 22 FO 403/309, No. 14, Mr. Cave to the Marquess of Lansdowne, Zanzibar, April 19, 1901. Sex work was (...)
  • 23 Sex work certainly occurred in Zanzibar Town, but notably most patrons of sex workers in the islan (...)
  • 24 Laura Fair notes that by the 1920s, former slave females sought to move into work that they could (...)

25In the same report where Farler wrote the above statement, he also hyperbolically complained that Pemba “had become a giant brothel” because newly freed women refused to attach themselves to a husband.22 The likelihood that freed women resorted to sex work is low, especially on rural Pemba Island; rather this statement is more indicative of colonial fears than of an increase in prostitution.23 Contrary to the expectations (and demands) of government officials like John Farler, numerous females chose to work in public rather than sequester themselves in private households.24 Colonial officials had no problem with enslaved females working in public as plantation laborers or working for a daily wage as vibarua in urban areas because, ostensibly, these females were under the control of a male head of household, their “owner;” once they were emancipated, however, they were not welcomed to live independently of men. Farler’s complaints make clear the gendered expectations colonial officials had of female laborers.

  • 25 See Pawelczak for a discussion of British and German sources emphasizing the benignity concept. Pa (...)
  • 26 Africa No. 6, 1896. No.59 Mr. A. Hardinge to the Marquess of Salisbury, Mombasa, February 17, 1896 (...)

26The colonial project to define enslavement in Africa as “mild” and erase the labor of enslaved females throughout East Africa was well underway in the 1890s. British and German officials in the 1890s reported that on the mainland the work required of enslaved people was “nominal,” supporting the “benignity concept” of enslavement.25 The British Consul on Zanzibar, Arthur Hardinge, argued that among the Giriama living on the mainland near the coast, slavery “is very nominal, and consists chiefly in carrying water, cooking and helping to cultivate the master’s land for a few hours a day in return for a share in his food…in fact, as among all these East African tribes, the real ‘slaves’ are the women, whether called free or slave, and it is by them that most of the manual work is done.”26 This comment makes several assumptions: first, enslavement was mild; second, the work of slaves was all domestic and thus feminized; and third, primarily males were enslaved. By putting the word slave in quotation marks, he tells the reader that females were not, in fact, enslaved. Hardinge’s point is that the domestic life of African women was hard because African men were lazy, not because the women were enslaved. This idea erases the brutality of women’s experiences of enslavement and women’s public labor. It also set up a narrative that long persisted in discussions of labor in eastern Africa: that African females had so few rights or so little agency in their home communities that they saw little difference between their lives as free or enslaved people.

  • 27 FO 403/309, Inclosure 2 in No. 3 Commissioner Farler to Sir Lt Mathews, number of contracts betwee (...)
  • 28 FO 403/309, No.3, p. 6

27Colonial officials knew that women made up a substantial portion, if not the majority, of the public labor force. They knew because they kept track of the numbers of laborers. For example, John Farler wrote endlessly about making contracts for workers (as seen in his quotation above). In the only report where he breaks down the contracts by gender, females were the majority of contract workers. Females were not being “dragged behind” a man, they were the ones signing on to work for landowners and businesses.27 J.T. Last, the Slavery Commissioner for Unguja (Zanzibar) Island reported to his superiors a detailed breakdown of enslaved laborers who petitioned for their emancipation. He categorized them by gender, ethnicity, where they were born, where they planned to live after emancipation, etc. He noted that two thirds planned to live in Zanzibar town working in jobs he listed as, “mechanics and artisans, others as boatmen, sailors, dealers, fishermen, &c., a great number are daily labourers, male and female, who are engaged in building and other kinds of work.”28 This string of skilled labor positions suggests that most of the newly freed laborers were men. In fact, they were not. As table 1 (below) shows, for the ten years of the emancipation period, in the records of both Pemba and Unguja islands, only in one year on Unguja did male petitioners outnumber females. Moreover, female petitioners in Zanzibar made up two-thirds of emancipated people who planned to live in the cities and take up urban work. Thus, when Farler wrote about the newly freed man “dragging” a woman around, or Last rattled off the list of skilled (read: male) jobs newly freed people were taking on, their words erased female public laborers from the historical record.

Table 1: Percentages of females and males emancipated 1898-1906

Year % females emancipated % males emancipated
1898a 49.9 (54.2) 50.1 (45.8)
1899b 52 48
1900c 52 48
1901d 56 44
1902e 54.5 (46.8) 45.5 (53.2)
1903f 56.3 43.7
1904g 65 35
1905h 75.2 24.8
1906i 62.2 38.8

a. Africa No. 8, 1899. Frederick Cooper gives the data in From Slaves to Squatters (Cooper, 1980: 73). His data do not agree with mine. I put his percentages in parentheses when our numbers do not agree.

b. ZNA [Zanzibar National Archives, hereafter ZNA]AC5/4; FO 403/309.

c. FO 403/309, Further Correspondence respecting East Africa, 1901

d. ZNA AC5/5; FO 403/309. There is a discrepancy between the numbers of emancipated people listed in Farler’s quarterly reports found in the Zanzibar National Archives documents and the numbers published in Africa No. 4, 1901. I have used the lower number (found in FO 403/309, Further Correspondence respecting East Africa, 1901). The ratio of male to female emancipations was similar.

e. This percentage is for Pemba only. See ZNA AC8/6 vice-consul.

f. FO 403/309 for the Zanzibar numbers; ZNA AC8/5 and AC8/7 for the Pemba numbers.

g. Cooper 1980: 73.

h. Ibid.

i. Ibid.

28As I noted in my discussion of Frederick Cooper’s book From Slaves to Squatters, historians have continued to replicate the colonial construction of enslaved and post-abolition workers as male. It requires a careful parsing of colonial documents to see where and when colonial officials acknowledged female laborers if one is to begin to see the bigger picture of labor in the islands. The landscape photographs taken by private studios, missionaries, visiting travelers, and some colonial officials offer a very different story, in which female laborers become visible, stepping out of the photos to illuminate the subtext of colonial documents.

Conclusion

  • 29 Susan Andrade (2007) notes that this vision was particularly classed in Africa.

29The British colonial vision of gendered labor dictated by a philosophy of separate spheres was always an illusion, a façade used by colonial officials to justify their labor and domestic policies. Yet it was a flimsy façade made up of words on paper rather than reality on the ground for the majority of African working-class people.29 Colonial officials and missionaries in Zanzibar believed formerly enslaved people were fundamentally unable to enculturate to “civilized” society. When John Farler, the slavery commissioner on Pemba Island, used the word “brothel” he knowingly instigated a “moral panic” among metropole officials (and in Parliament) who understood formerly enslaved women to be moving from plantation labor directly into sex work. This framing allowed Farler to obfuscate the efforts of the many females who had been laboring as vibarua for years before and after the emancipation order. The moral panic gave him the opportunity to instigate stricter policies to control and move newly freed females into domestic spaces and out of the public realm.

  • 30 For similar examples in twentieth century Nairobi, see White, 1990. White discusses the ways femal (...)
  • 31 For discussion of changing regulations over divorce, see McMahon 2015.

30At the same time, claiming females living together must be a “brothel” allowed officials to avoid consideration of why females might want to live with each other rather than live in a male-headed household.30 Can we see the colonial language of “brothels” as indicative of something other than rampant sex work? Could it indicate female refusal to obey colonial officials, former owners, and “husbands”? For females, who had little choice while enslaved over who they lived or had sex with, “married”, or at what age a sexual relationship might start, emancipation gave them the ability to walk away from unwanted male partners, something women readily did.31 Farler frequently made negative comments about enslaved and newly freed people, specifically because of their resistance to his efforts to shape them into a capitalist, working class labor force, and of their refusal to follow “civilized” (as in Christian) domestic policies including marriage for life (something, ironically that Farler himself never participated in).

  • 32 Estimates of Pemba’s population range widely for the late nineteenth century – from forty to one h (...)

31By demonstrating the active participation of enslaved and freed women in public labor as vibarua during the 19th century, I question colonial justifications for delaying abolition that females would be unable to adapt to “free” labor. A belief reinforced by claims that “all of Pemba has become a giant brothel” within a year of the abolition order, even though when that claim was made less than a thousand females had gained their freedom – hardly “all of Pemba.”32 Zanzibar Town was a port city, with sailors from all over the world passing through. Sex work had existed on the island for much of the 19th century, yet the issue was not raised by colonial officials until abolition, demonstrating the particularly gendered treatment of emancipation for enslaved people in the Zanzibar Islands.

  • 33 For a discussion of female participation in the Ground Rent strikes of the 1910s and 1920s, see Fa (...)

32Perhaps the female workers’ resistance to patriarchal constraints on their labor helps explain why the colonial government began refusing to hire female vibarua in the post-abolition era (even though they were cheaper labor). By limiting the job possibilities for females, colonial officials forced them to become more economically dependent on male workers, encouraging female dependency on marriage, a situation much discussed in the literature. Given that in the early 1900s females used a variety of methods (including changing their religion) to escape unwanted marriages, could we see the government interventions in marriage and divorce laws between 1910-1920 as an extension of their efforts to force females into the domestic space and male-headed households? (Stockreiter 2015). 33

33If we pay attention to the important role female labor played during the era of enslavement, and the efforts the colonial government put into removing public female labor into the domestic sphere, then the dramatic changes that occurred in post-abolition Zanzibar town, where females fought new colonial regulations over their bodies and the spaces in which they lived, make far more sense. By using a gendered framework for thinking about labor in the crucial post-abolition period, a very different history of female experience emerges. The legacy of colonial officials’ erasure of the significance of female labor to the 19th-century Zanzibar economy is an act of epistemic violence that continues to warp our understanding of the past.

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Bibliographie

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Christie James, 1876. Cholera Epidemics in East Africa: An Account of the Several Diffusions of the Disease in that Country from 1821 till 1872, with an Outline of the Geography, Ethnography, and Trade Connections of the Regions Through Which the Epidemics Passed, London, Macmillan.

Mackenzie Donald, 1895. A Report on Slavery and the Slave Trade in Zanzibar, Pemba, and the Mainland of the British Protectorates of East Africa. London, British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

Newman Henry Stanley, 1898. Banani: The Transition from Slavery to Freedom in Zanzibar and Pemba, London, Headley Brothers.

Steere Edward, 1884. A Handbook of the Swahili Language, as Spoken at Zanzibar, London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

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Azoulay Ariella, 2019. Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, London/New York, Verso.

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Domingues da Silva Daniel B. & Edward A. Alpers, 2021. “Abolition and the Registration of Slaves and Libertos in Portuguese Mozambique, 1856–76,” The Journal of African History, no. 62/3, pp. 377–393.

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Notes

1 Throughout the article I use “female” as an inclusive term for anyone living as female of any age. In some cases it is unclear if only women were laboring in particular professions or if girls also participated, thus by using female I incorporate all people who lived as female. For a discussion of males living as females see Amory 2001.

2 For more information about British concerns, see Cooper 1980, chapter 2; Welliver 1990: 60–120; Fair 2001: 14.

3 See Africa No. 6, 1895. Includes letters from Rennell Rodd, Consul General at Zanzibar, December 31, 1893, arguing that abolition was not feasible at the time – citing Sir John Kirk’s memorandum of 1884 stating that “slavery... is essential to prosperity in Pemba.” Also see letter from the Earl of Kimberly to Mr. Hardinge (newly appointed Consul General to Zanzibar), November 27, 1894, citing abolition from India and Egypt. Hardinge’s reply of February 26, 1895, goes on to say that it is not advisable to abolish slavery at that time but that they should continue to focus on ending the slave trade so that slavery can “die out.”

4 For a detailed discussion of the problem of treating concubines as “secondary wives” see McMahon 2020: 395–412.

5 Thaddeus Sunseri’s work on the mainland demonstrates that German colonial officials wanted female laborers and recorded far more about them as workers, making them visible in the archive. See Sunseri 1993: 481–511.

6 For example, Jonathon Glassman categorized mafundi or skilled craftspeople as exclusively male by only using male pronouns to discuss their work. Some waganga were called mafundi and they were both male and female. See Glassman 1995, chapter 3.

7 Laura Fair’s work is an important exception. She notes that females were half the labor force during enslavement and that even as late as the 1940s, 90% of urban females found a way to earn an income. However, she frames this dynamic as about attaining respectability and not about women seeking to have choice. Choice in marriage partners (if any), choice in how, when and where they could labor, etc. Fair, 2001. Also see the recent work of Michelle Liebst (2014: 366–381).

8 This photograph was in an album dated 1905. Thus the image is from the period before that date. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University Libraries. “Zanzibar”, The Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1860-1960 Accessed Fri Apr 15 2022. https://dc.library.northwestern.edu/items/bced17ec-8b41-44f7-801e-ab9f9e3d4e20

9 For a detailed discussion of cicatrix see Domingues da Silva & Alpers 2021: 377–393.

10 Steere 1884 dictionary.

11 Even in the early 2000s women were still working as vibarua in construction. Thus, even though respectability dictates women should not work in public spaces, poor women continue to do so: see Fair, 2001.

12 Similar systems of employment among urban enslaved workers are found across the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries. See for instance, Reis 1997: 355–394.

13 See Christie 1876: 315–319; he also mentions women in the markets of Ethiopia (ibid.: 212).

14 The Swahili coast has a long history of debates over identity, ethnicity, and race. For my purposes here when I use the term African, I am referring to the ways colonial officials frame the identity of laborers; to jump into the historiography of debates about identity see: De Vere Allen 1982: 9–27; idem. 1993; Pouwels 1987; Sheriff & Tominaga 1992; Glassman 1995; Fair 2001.

15 The photograph is not available for publication but can be found here: https://www.zanzibaranglican.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/UMCA-women-slaves.jpg. Notably, steamships were not the dominant form of shipping arriving in the Zanzibar port, as sailing ships still predominated into the 20th century. For more details on shipping see Gilbert 2004, Pawelczak 2010.

16 German colonial officials were much more willing to write about female laborers. For more discussion of female laborers in German East Africa see Deutsch, 2006 and Sunseri, 1993.

17 FO [Foreign Office, hereafter FO] 403/309 Further Correspondence Respecting East Africa, 1901, Inclosure 2 in No. 3 Commissioner Farler to Sir Lt Mathews, p. 8. Number of contracts between former slaves and owners can be found on p. 13. The ratio was 127 male to 165 female former slaves who had labor contracts in 1899.

18 No definitive ratio of female to male enslaved workers exists. In many cases the ratios come from emancipation records. However it is estimated that only 10-25% of enslaved people applied for emancipation papers. While these numbers cannot tell us the precise breakdown, we do know that in the latter half of the 19th century, males were preferred by exporters, which suggests that even if males and females were sold at the same rate, more males were exported, leaving more enslaved females to work in the coastal region. For discussion of percentages see: Suzuki 2012: 209–239; Wahab 2016. For a discussion of exports see Hopper 2015.

19 Farler was not alone in his gendering of enslavement as male. In his book on Pemba in 1898, Henry Stanley Newman likewise gendered slaves as male, particularly when discussing their resistance to enslavement. See Newman 1898: 147.

20 For a useful discussion of colonial facades around domesticity without actual changes in indigenous practices, see Osborn 2011, chapter seven.

21 This scholarship is well developed in the U.S.: see the work of Eileen Boris (Boris & Daniels 1989; Boris & Prügl 1996; Boris & Salazar Parreñas 2010) and everyone who cites her.

22 FO 403/309, No. 14, Mr. Cave to the Marquess of Lansdowne, Zanzibar, April 19, 1901. Sex work was another form of public labor that officials sought to stamp out after 1900, going so far as to burn down homes where women lived together without a male head of household. I would argue colonial efforts to eradicate perceived “prostitutes” was less about morality and more about controlling unmarried females and their labor.

23 Sex work certainly occurred in Zanzibar Town, but notably most patrons of sex workers in the islands were visiting sailors and foreigners.

24 Laura Fair notes that by the 1920s, former slave females sought to move into work that they could do within the home, such as cooking food for sale or entertainment, so that they could maintain their respectability. I do not doubt that many women moved into their positions for the sake of respectability. However, they often also had little choice since the government cut back the number of female vibarua they would hire. Fair, 2001.

25 See Pawelczak for a discussion of British and German sources emphasizing the benignity concept. Pawelczak, 2010: 66–68.

26 Africa No. 6, 1896. No.59 Mr. A. Hardinge to the Marquess of Salisbury, Mombasa, February 17, 1896. P. 60.

27 FO 403/309, Inclosure 2 in No. 3 Commissioner Farler to Sir Lt Mathews, number of contracts between former slaves and owners can be found on p. 13. The ratio was 127 male to 165 female former slaves had labor contracts in 1899.

28 FO 403/309, No.3, p. 6

29 Susan Andrade (2007) notes that this vision was particularly classed in Africa.

30 For similar examples in twentieth century Nairobi, see White, 1990. White discusses the ways females lived together as an economic means to build personal wealth rather than as a “brothel” under a madam.

31 For discussion of changing regulations over divorce, see McMahon 2015.

32 Estimates of Pemba’s population range widely for the late nineteenth century – from forty to one hundred thousand.

33 For a discussion of female participation in the Ground Rent strikes of the 1910s and 1920s, see Fair, 2001.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Photo 1. Clove picking, Zanzibar
Légende Postcard, A. C. Gomes & Son, photographers, circa 1890 to circa 1939. Please note the presence of “women and children” as pickers.
Crédits Image courtesy of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Winterton Collection, Northwestern University Libraries. Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https://dc.library.northwestern.edu/​items/​d8e54e4e-2e80-42c1-bfda-6538e671e264
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/slaveries/docannexe/image/9537/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,7M
Titre Photo 2. Drying cloves, Zanzibar
Légende Album of original photographs of Zanzibar. Unidentified photographers, 1905, photograph 2, page 17.
Crédits Image courtesy of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Winterton Collection, Northwestern University Libraries. Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https://dc.library.northwestern.edu/​items/​bced17ec-8b41-44f7-801e-ab9f9e3d4e20
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/slaveries/docannexe/image/9537/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 777k
Titre Photo 3. The Main Road to Zanzibar
Crédits Source: Scribner's Magazine, no. 29/3, March 1901 Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https://archive.org/​details/​scribnersmagazin29newy/​page/​258/​mode/​2up?view=theater
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/slaveries/docannexe/image/9537/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 178k
Titre Photo 4. Native market, Darazani
Légende Album of original photographs of Zanzibar. Coutinho Bros., circa 1900, page 39
Crédits Image courtesy of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Winterton Collection, Northwestern University Libraries. Accessed Fri Nov 03 2023. https:/dc.library.northwestern.edu/items/7aee9e93-17f7-4077-a365-8cba88302285
URL http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/slaveries/docannexe/image/9537/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
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Elisabeth McMahon, « Laboring Under an Illusion: Erasing Female Public Labor in Post-Abolition Zanzibar Islands, 1890–1910 »Esclavages & Post-esclavages [En ligne], 9 | 2024, mis en ligne le 15 mai 2024, consulté le 19 juin 2024. URL : http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/slaveries/9537 ; DOI : https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/11o9t

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Elisabeth McMahon

Tulane University, History Department and Africana Studies Program (USA)

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