The Pass Laws in Rhodesia

The Pass Laws in Rhodesia

A Rhodesian police officer talking to a black motorists. Image credit ebay.com

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Zimbabwe 1894-1969:The Pass Laws

  • They were initiated in 1896 to control the movement of native men to towns
  • From 1902 men over 14 years of age were to register at the pass office to get identification certification
  • These certificates were paid for daily at the local government
  • From 1902-1913 African men needed a travelling or visiting pass to travel from one district to another
  • They also needed the pass to seek employment
  • In 1936 the government passed the Native Registration Act to tighten its control on workers
  • The government also passed the Native Passes Act in 1937 to reinforce the previous native passes laws
  • It was illegal for a man to gain employment for more than four days if they did not have an identification certificate and this was reviewed to seven days in 1957
  • The pass system became so strict that a native man had to carry about 14 documents including chitupa in the late 1950s
  • They had to carry tax receipts for good they bought
  • Failure to produce the passes resulted in harassment and abuse by the police officers who demanded to receipts at any time
  • Crimes of not breaching pass laws constituted the largest number of prosecutions in Rhodesia
  • The fines from pass breaching prosecutions were also another source of revenue for the colonial government
  • Jails became full of African men who could not pay for fines
  • African men tried to avoid using passes by other men’s passes
  • The number of the passes and the severity of the laws were eventually reduced in 1961 only retaining the registration certificate

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.

By |2017-02-21T07:11:13+00:00February 21st, 2017|Notes, O Level History Notes, Ordinary Level Notes|Comments Off on The Pass Laws in Rhodesia

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