Southern African Network for Economic History - Workshop

Monday, 8 July, 2024 - 09:00

This workshop is funded by a recently awarded NIHSS Grant (National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences) for the research project “Currencies, Colonial Economies, and the Making of the South African State: Studying Economic History in South Africa.”  The workshop will also serve as a preliminary meeting of the Southern African Network of Economic Historians (SANEH), supported by the NIHSS grant to invigorate debates about capitalism, class and macro- and micro-economic developments from the precolonial to the postcolonial eras. 

To attend in person, please RSVP to Laura Phillips at or register via Zoom here


Day 1: 8 July

9.15 – 10.00: Welcome and Opening Remarks:

  • Laura Phillips: Welcome and the NIHSS project: Currencies, Colonial Economies, and the Making of the South African State

  • Tinashe Nyamunda: African Economic History in Southern Africa: Current State, Challenges and Prospects

  • Abraham Mlombo: Researching and Teaching Economic History in SA: Constraints and Opportunities

10:00 – 10.30: Tea & Coffee

10:30 – 12:30: Panel 1 – The History of Economic Thought

  • Keith Breckenridge: “Misjudging progressives : Macmillan, his students, and the foundations of South African economic history”

  • Geraldine Sibanda: “‘There is No Dark Continent in the Modern Age of the United Nations”: The Making of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Economic Ideas in Its Formative Years, 1949-1964"”

  • Christine Swanepoel: “A review of the early economic conditions and debates for a central bank in South Africa”

  • Sean Maliehie: “Commerce, Colonial Law and Economic Injustice in Lesotho”

12:30 - 1.30: Lunch

1.30 – 3.30: Panel 2: Monetary Histories

  • Tinashe Nyamunda: “The Pond, the Pound and the ‘Pounding’: Currency Wars and the Making of the Union of South Africa’s Colonial Economy, 1891 – 1910”

  • Njabulo Mthembu: “Kruger’s head circulating in the Cape colony: analysing the Cape government’s attempt to demonetize the Transvaal currency in the colony”.

  • Laura Phillips: The Mauritius Connection: What Coinage Teaches us about Empire

  • Admire Mseba, “The Politics of Monetary Management and Gold Production in Southern Rhodesia, c1931-1964: A Reconsideration”

Day 2: 9 July

10:00 – 12:00: Panel 3: Political Economy and Economic Growth

  • Unaludo Sechele: “Diamonds and Cattle: Botswana’s Way Away from the South African Shadow, 1966 – 1976”

  • Bryson Nkhoma: “State Power and African Agency: The Political Economy of Peasant Food Production in Colonial Malawi, 1883-1961”

  • Peter Uledi: “An Exposition of the Rhodesian Economy during the Unilateral Declaration of Independence 1960-1979: Debt and Economic Development”

  • Victor Gwande: ”In Service to Commerce and Industry: Rhodesian Recorder, Advertising, and Industrial Publicity in Southern Rhodesia, 1949 – 1970s”

12:00 – 12.30: Closing Remarks: The Workshop and the Network: Open symposium on prospects and possibilities

12:30 - 1:30: Lunch


WISER Research Theme: