Witwatersrand Native Labor Association

The Witwatersrand Native Labor Association ( WNLA ), more popularly Wenela , was set up by the mines in South Africa as a recruiting agency for migrant workers.

Eventually, it comprised a larger organization with icts own depots, buses and airplanes [1] spread over the whole of Southern Africa : South Africa, Basutoland , Swaziland , South West Africa , Bechuanaland , Northern Rhodesia , Southern Rhodesia , Nyasaland , Angola , Mocambique , extending into the Belgian Congo and Tanganyika .

Each depot had the administrative and medical staff and a “barracks” to house recruits both before departure and on their return. Some had clinics and even schools, where the recruits were taught Fanagalo , the lingua franca of Southern Africa (and then the rudiments of mining).

Tours were usually six months old, but they were all working as migrant workers.

This author is writing of the North West then part of Northern Rhodesia: “The Witwatersrand Native Labor Association (WNLA) recruited systematically in the 1940s and 1950s, using permanent local agents, a system of barges which led all of the major rivers of the region. , and out-stations Where Were Housed workers up to They Could Be Brought into the Boma for transportation. At the Boma WNLA maintained icts own gardens and cattle herds as well as substantial businesses hostels. [2]

In Northern Rhodesia, the government had a hut of a small amount, payable annually for each hut. It was a form of “tribal initiation” for every young man to go to the village.

Fanagalo thus became the lingua franca of the whole of Southern Africa.

See also

  • South West African Native Labor Association


  1. Jump up^ http://eu.airliners.net/photo/Wenela/Douglas-DC-4/0038437&tbl=photo_info&photo_nr=1&sok=WHERE__%28airline_%3D_%27Wenela%27%29_&sort=_order_by_photo_id_DESC_&prev_id=&next_id=NEXTID
  2. Jump up^ http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft158004rs&chunk.id=d0e9485&toc.id=d0e9231&brand=ucpress

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