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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


MALIEHE, Sean. An obscured narrative in the political economy of colonial commerce in Lesotho, 1870-1966. Historia [online]. 2014, vol.59, n.2, pp.28-45. ISSN 2309-8392.

This paper examines the political economy of colonial commerce in Lesotho - then Basutoland. It argues that although pivotal and appropriate, the political economy narrative alone is limited as an explanation for other dynamics which shaped Lesotho's colonial commerce. It provides a radically simplified bi-polar picture in which European and Indian traders (the more powerful actors) on the one hand, and Basotho traders (the weaker actors) on the other, participated in antagonistic silos. Using historical records and the political economy of Lesotho as a context, this article identifies the existence of a dialectical and multifaceted relationship between these two categories. This was manifested in the interdependent and indispensable relationship between everyday economic pragmatism and collective political activism. This is an under-played catalyst that contributed to the shaping of the country's business landscape in the colonial period.

Keywords : Basutoland; Lesotho; colonial commerce; political economy approach; dialectical approach; political activism; monopoly.

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