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Commerce as Politics: The Two Centuries of Struggle for Basotho Economic Independence

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Volume 8

The Human Economy

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Commerce as Politics

The Two Centuries of Struggle for Basotho Economic Independence

Sean M. Maliehe

168 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-981-5 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Not Yet Published (January 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78920-982-2 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“I think very highly of this book … I think it will be highly cited and important, partly because there has been so little economic history of Lesotho but also because of the quality of the scholarship.” • Colin Hoag, Smith College


This is the first comprehensive economic history of the Basotho people of Southern Africa (in colonial Basutoland, then Lesotho) and spans from the 1820s to the present day. The book documents what the Basotho have done on their own account, focusing on their systematic exclusion from trade and their political efforts to insert themselves into their country’s commerce. Although the colonial and post-colonial periods were unfavourable to the Basotho, they have, before and after colonial rule, launched impressive commercial initiatives of their own, which bring hope for greater development and freedom in their struggle for economic independence.

Sean M. Maliehe is an economic historian and ethnographer of commerce, money and mobile phones in Lesotho and South Africa (Diepsloot). He has held two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pretoria: Human Economy Programme, Centre for Advancement of Scholarship (2016-2018) and Department of Historical and Heritage Studies (2019-2020).

Subject: Colonial History
Area: Africa


List of Abbreviations


Part I: The Rise and Fall of the Basotho Nation

Chapter 1. The Formation of the Basotho Nation, 1820s-1870s
Chapter 2. The Loss of Economic Independence, 1870s-1890s

Part II: British Trading Monopoly and the Liberation Struggle

Chapter 3. Colonial Commerce, 1870s-1930s
Chapter 4. Basotho in Colonial Commerce, 1900s-1966
Chapter 5. The Political Struggle for Reform of Trade, 1900s-1966

Part III: Lesotho’s Postcolonial Counter-Revolution and Resistance to It

Chapter 6. The Developmental State and Lesotho’s Counter-Revolution, 1966-1986
Chapter 7. The Military Dictatorship and the Neoliberal Turn, 1986-2010s
Chapter 8. Business Politics and the Collapse of the Congress, 2000s-2020
Chapter 9. The Rise of a Chinese Trading Monopoly and of Mobile Money, 2000s-2020

Conclusion: Commerce as Politics


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