Settlers at the end of empire

Race and the politics of migration in South Africa, Rhodesia and the United Kingdom

By Jean Smith

Settlers at the end of empire


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4548-2
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2022
  • BIC Category: Southern Africa, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Modern History, Political Theory, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, History, Colonialism & imperialism, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Discrimination & Race Relations, HISTORY / Africa / South / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


Settlers at the end of empire traces the development of racialised migration regimes in South Africa, Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) and the United Kingdom from the Second World War to the end of apartheid in 1994. While South Africa and Rhodesia, like other settler colonies, had a long history of restricting the entry of migrants of colour, in the 1960s under existential threat and after abandoning formal ties with the Commonwealth they began to actively recruit white migrants, the majority of whom were British. At the same time, with the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, the British government began to implement restrictions aimed at slowing the migration of British subjects of colour. In all three nations, these policies were aimed at the preservation of nations imagined as white, revealing the persistence of the racial ideologies of empire across the era of decolonisation.


1. 'The height of my ambition is to be a Springbok': Wartime travel to southern Africa, race and the discourse of opportunity
2. 'We want new settlers of British stock': Planning for post-war migration
3. 'Immigration on a Selective Basis': The competing imperatives of minority settler colonialism, 1945-1953
4. From Britons to 'New Rhodesians' and 'New South Africans': The consolidation of racial nationalism in the 1950s
5. The demographic defence of the white nation, 1960-1975
6. 'The last bastion of the British Empire': The politics of migration in the final days of Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa, 1976-1994
7. 'I still don't have a country': The southern African settler diaspora after decolonisation
Select bibliography


Jean P. Smith is Lecturer in British Imperial History at King's College London.

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