oa Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies - Military labour mobilisation in colonial Lesotho during World War II, 1940-1943

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1022-8136
  • E-ISSN: 2224-0020



In 1940, Great Britain's wartime exploitation of the human and material resources of its colonial empire was extended to colonial Lesotho (then known as Basutoland). The aim of this article, therefore, is to trace the four-year military labour mobilisation process in that colony, with special attention to the timing, number and procedures of the recruitment campaigns that were launched, the reasons for Basotho men's willingness or resistance to enlist, and the overall implications for Lesotho of large-scale absenteeism of able-bodied men as migrant and military labour.

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