Chiefs of the Plantation

Authority and Contestation on the South Africa-Zimbabwe Border

Lincoln Addison



South African agriculture is characterized by growing labour unrest, evinced in recent years by high-profile strikes, but little is known about the sources and forms of day-to-day struggle. In Chiefs of the Plantation Lincoln Addison examines how labour conflict is fuelled by changing management practices and how workers respond and resist across spatial, sexual, and spiritual domains.


This is an excellently executed study that demonstrates the power of this methodology to reveal deeper meanings behind day-to-day activity. While Addison's main focus is describing the labour regime on the plantation, the fieldwork reveals the critical roles of sexual economy and religion as sites of contestation and cultural expression. - Allison Goebel


Lincoln Addison is an assistant professor of anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.