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Native Policy in Northern Rhodesia

Nature volume 139, page 360 (27 February 1937) | Download Citation



SOME important observations on policy, present and future, in the administration of native affairs in Northern Rhodesia were made by the Governor of that Dependency, Sir Hubert Young, when addressing the members of the East African group of the Over-Seas League at Over-Seas House on February 19. It was evident from his remarks that, while the cosmopolitan population of the mining area naturally is concerned primarily with the interests of copper, the most important industry in the country, the outlook on the native question is somewhat different in other districts. In a country in which there are one and three quarter million natives to eleven thousand Europeans, it is recognized, Sir Hubert said, that the native has a right to have work most suited to him. Presumably it would be legitimate to interpret this as meaning, in less diplomatic terms, that the development of the native along lines in harmony with his own culture is to be the aim of administration, rather than the exploitation of labour solely to meet the needs of a European industry, important though this may be. An announcement, welcome in this connexion, was that an anthropological institute is to be established. This will ensure—or at least, so it may be hoped—that native custom and cultural trends will be studied thoroughly in order to meet the neeas of administration. It will certainly afford an indispensable aid in the attempt which is now being made to re-establish the native organization and the native authorities. Sir Hubert Young expressed himself as “rather a heretic” in the matter of indirect rule. In view of the difficulties of reestablishing a system which now for some years has been in process of disintegration, it will perhaps be wise not to expect too much. At the same time, in regarding it as a training only, Sir Hubert wisely emphasized a fact often overlooked, that indirect rule cannot be an end in itself.

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