Re: Cooperative Labor in Africa

Brian E. Schwimmer (schwimm@CC.UMANITOBA.CA)
Mon, 6 Mar 1995 09:12:44 -0600

I do not have a lot of data on them, but during my fieldword in Ghana in
the early 70's, I participated in a work party formed among neighboring
farmers for the harvesting of cocoa. They are called "nnobua". An
investigation into general labor allocation systems within the cocoa
industry in Ghana would be very useful, since there are a lot of
different mechanisms for recruitment and compensation. Polly Hill and
Gloria Gwendolyn Mikell have both written expensively on labor systems
among cocoa farmers. There is also a lot of material on cooperative
movements (cf. B. Beckman).

On Sun, 5 Mar 1995, Dana Farnham wrote:

> I am presently working on a book on cooperative work parties (aka
> beer parties, festive labor) and their role in capitalist
> development in sub-Saharan Africa. I would like to hear from anyone
> who has worked in Africa and has information on the mobilization and
> use of work parties in their area (e.g., composition, frequency,
> tasks used for, etc.). If you have references to an article or book
> that includes a discussion/description of such work parties, I
> would greatly appreciate receiving that information. I would
> certainly be interested in any material on changes in communal
> work patterns in response to cultivation of commercial crops or
> new agricultural technologies (e.g., ox plows, tractors) and
> possible linkage with the formation of cooperatives and political
> protest groups.
> Dana Farnham

Brian Schwimmer
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba