Working in the British National Archive in Kew I have come across a fascinating telegram from the South African Governor, Lord Selborne to the Colonial Secretary, Lord Elgin in London.
It is dated 8th October 1906 and I am reproducing it below. It asks whether there would be any objection for the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (Wenela) to recruit labour for the South African gold mines from ‘French Somaliland’ – or Djibouti. It would appear that this would have broken the “Labour Importation Ordinance” which appears to prevent the recruitment of labour North of latitude 22 degrees. But I know nothing about this, although I know the mines did recruit a long way from the Witwatersrand. The South Africans were looking for 1,000 men. The reply from the Colonial office is below.
The reply, (see below) which appears to be initialed by Churchill and Earl, appears to give the go-ahead to the recruitment. So were Somali miners ever sent to South Africa? I don’t know the answer, but perhaps someone else does.