Mafisa and Bulozi Cattle Economy in Historical Perspective 1886-1986
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The dissertation looks at the change in Mafisa from I886-I986.In the work we have shown that Mafisa was aai authentic Lozi institution, which was practised long before groups such as the Mbunda and Kololo arrived in Bulozi. We have shown that the uneven distribution of pastures in Bulozi was a very important factor in the practice of Mafisa. In the hands of the political elite in Bulozi, Mafisa played an important political role. Cattle were distributed in Mafisa as a seal of political relations between the rulers and the ruled. This was mainly because at the turn of the century, it was the political elite who had cattle in large numbers.However, with new developments in Bulozi such as the coming of colonial rule and the cattle trade, Mafisa underwent some change.Raids for cattle from the Ila and Tonga on which the Lozi had depended were brought to an end by the B.S.A. Co. Also the colonial government was the final authority in the territory, thus under¬mining the political position of the rulers in Bulozi. The cattle trade enabled commoners who had earned some money to buy cattle.The cattle trade also led to cattle thefts by the herdsmen.With these two developments we see Mafisa assuming an economic importance.About the 1940s onwards there was an increased involvement by the commoners in Mafisa. Workers and people in urban areas became involved in it. The 1940s also saw the sale of milk by the herdsmen to the urban centres and the proceeds accrued to the owner of cattle, while originally milk used to form part of the payment of herding Mafisa cattle.In the 1970s and 1980s it became quite common for a herdsman to ask for payment in cash for herding mafisa cattle instead of the traditional payment in cattle.Finally, while earlier on it was possible to associate cattle ownership with political position, at the close of our study period this was no longer possible This was so because the cattle of the political elite had greatly diminished in number through cattle diseases, the cattle trade and thefts by the herdsmen and cattle enumerators. While paradoxically some commoner herdsmen had become wealthy cattle-owners, some aristocratic. cattle owners lost their animals.