Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Registration and RecognitionDocumenting the Person in World History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Keith Breckenridge and Simon Szreter

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265314

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265314.001.0001

Show Summary Details

No Will to Know: The Rise and Fall of African Civil Registration in Twentieth-Century South Africa

No Will to Know: The Rise and Fall of African Civil Registration in Twentieth-Century South Africa

Chapter:
(p.357) 14 No Will to Know: The Rise and Fall of African Civil Registration in Twentieth-Century South Africa
Source:
Registration and Recognition
Author(s):

Keith Breckenridge

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265314.003.0015

Vital statistics have been politically fraught in South Africa for decades, not least because the state made very little effort to record information about the well-being of African women and children. This chapter shows that in the last years of the nineteenth century a working system of vital registration was developed in the colony of Natal and in the native reserves of the Transkei. From the beginning this delegated bureaucracy faced opposition from African patriarchs, from parsimonious white elected leaders and from the advocates of coercive systems of biometric identification. In the early 1920s, under the weight of mostly unfounded accusations of corruption, the system of registration by means of ‘native agency’ was deliberately terminated, despite the general enthusiasm of the magistrates charged with maintaining it.

Keywords:   South Africa, Shepstone, indirect rule, biometric registration, delegation, will to know, vital registration, public health, epidemiology

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.