Tag Archives: migrant wage labour.

From Cattle Herders to Cash Earners: The Emergence of a Migrant Wage Labour Class and Its Impact on Livestock Economy among the Akamba of Machakos, Kenya, 1895-1963. (Published)

The article examined the paradigm shift from livestock production to wage labor as a response to colonial capitalism among the Akamba of Machakos, 1895-1963. It used the “concept of the articulation of modes of production” to explain the development of labour migration in Machakos during the colonial period as a result of the economic changes brought about by the British colonial rule. Methodology involved data collection from primary and secondary sources. Primary data included archival and oral sources while secondary data entailed a detailed analysis of existing literature on colonial labor history as well as livestock production in Kenya. The study established that on the eve of colonial rule, livestock economy was the mainstay of the Akamba and as such, labour was mainly directed to animal husbandry. It also established that colonial policies like land alienation, labor laws and taxation undermined the livestock sector while at the same time nurturing and intensifying the development of wage labor in Machakos. The study therefore maintains that the decline of the livestock economy among the Akamba of Machakos was corollary to the emergence of wage labor.

Keywords: akamba, articulation of modes of production, colonial capitalism, livestock economy, migrant wage labour.