SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

During the colonial period in West Africa, European officials and businessmen faced a perennial shortage of labor; their response was to rely on coercion. Despite their rhetoric of “free wage labor,” colonial officials thought Africans needed encouragement to understand time and work discipline. Africans continually resisted, making forced labor inefficient and costly. West Africans incorporated the European rhetoric of the abolition of slavery, free wage labor and workers’ benefits into their protests against colonial labor practices. By the late 1940s, most forms of forced labor had been abolished.