By Richard Hodder-Williams
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Extra resources for White Farmers in Rhodesia, 1890–1965: A History of the Marandellas District
50 But it was as intermediaries between the rural Shona and the growing urban centres that most 'farmers' made their living; occasionally, the roles were reversed, as in November 1892 when the Shona were so hard up for meal, having oversold supplies to the resident and visiting traders, that they tried to trade beads back into meal. 5l For these traders, amicable relations with the local people were an essential requirement, since they depended upon them utterly for their economic survival and often their social solace as well.
And obstructing the single line of railway' . 110 The line from Beira to U mtali. was being converted to a wider gauge and the force arrived at Marandellas, where it de-trained, in dribs and drabs, often ill, and normally short of equipment. Round the railway line there grew up a large camp, complete with stores, cafes, itinerant wanderers hoping to gain at the soldiers' expense, but the process of transporting this army along the wagon road to Charter and Bulawayo took most of the dry winter months.
3l The burden of collecting this tax fell upon various individuals, appointed by th~ Administration, who seemed able to do so. Bennett, as a Company employee, was appointed in Marandellas, but his rough and ready method of collecting cattle and goats in lieu of cash and his inability to complete the return sheets resulted in Meredith's taking overY His methods were broadly similar. Since the Shona could not appreciate why they now had to pay this tax, Meredith was reduced to surprising kraals at dawn, driving off some of the livestock, and then auctioning it to white farmers to raise the 10/ - cash per hut required by law.
White Farmers in Rhodesia, 1890–1965: A History of the Marandellas District by Richard Hodder-Williams