Women’s Migration Pre-1920

  • Camilla May Cockerton


In colonial Botswana, drought, poverty, other ecological disasters, the ravages of the male migrant system, and social ostracism drove women, especially the most vulnerable women, from their rural homes to seek paid employment to survive. Before World War I, married women dominated the ranks of those who did migrate, with small, but rising, numbers of divorcees, widows, and single women slowly becoming more common during the first two decades of this century. Different categories of migrants at different points in time dominated the movement of women from Bechuanaland to South Africa. This chapter explores the cultural history of early Botswana, women’s traditional roles in Tswana culture, forced migration of women, the implications of male migration, and farm labours in the Western Transvaal pre-1920.


Migration Paid employment Married women Divorcees Widows Single women Volume of migration Rural exodus Cultural history Traditional roles Forced migration Male migration Farm labours 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camilla May Cockerton
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherWellingtonNew Zealand

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