Answer to Question #190512 in History for Galaletsang

Question #190512

Briefly discuss the role of minerals in the early and late mixed-farming communities

of precolonial Southern Africa.

Expert's answer

Role of Minerals in farming Communities of Pre-colonial SA

In pre-colonial South Africa, the farmers practiced mining as a way of earning a living. These minerals were used in shaping their economic structures as they were introducing industry. However, the minerals were used directly on their crops. For instance, nitrogen and potassium were used to accelerate crop growth. They helped plant metabolism while others were used by the plant in photosynthesis which led to the production of flowers and fruits. The minerals were also used on animals like a cow. Some minerals were rich in calcium that strengthened the animals and aided in more production of their milk, dung, and meat, which were used as food. On the other hand, they used minerals as tools for exchange or trading.


Hannaford, M. J. (2018). Pre-Colonial South-East Africa: Sources and Prospects for Research in Economic and Social History. Journal of Southern African Studies, 44(5), 771-792.

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