Within salvation: girl hawkers and the colonial state in development era Lagos.
The first innovation, which was roundly lauded, concerned the establishment of juvenile courts and a juvenile justice system. For the first time in the history of Lagos, child offenders were to be managed through a distinct set of legal policies and institutions from adults. The second innovation, generally condemned, was also the specific target of the anonymous letter writer's criticisms. It concerned a section of the ordinance that restricted street trading by children in Lagos. For the first time in the city's recorded history children's street work would be subject to governmental regulation and control.
The street trading regulations of the Children and Young Person's Ordinance of 1943 were the first of a string of similar laws passed in the latter half of the 20th century that made itinerant trading or hawking by children a punishable offense. (1) The regulations prohibited all children under 14 from selling petty goods in the street and from "playing, singing, or performing, for profit." (2) Older girls between ages 14 and 16 were subject to additional specific restrictions dictated by the time of day, the social geography of the city, and whether or not they were biologically related to their supervisors. They were excluded from hawking in the central business district, heavily European neighborhoods, and in the vicinity of bars, brothels, and military barracks; in short wherever military men or foreign men were known to congregate. Like market trading in much of Yorubaland, street trading was a female gendered activity. (3) Thus, although the language of the regulations was in large part gender neutral, Lagos residents understood them to place a de facto ban on hawking by girls.
Few questioned the overall aim of the ordinance. As the anonymous letter writer remarked, "Every worthy citizen" understood it as having been "designed to achieve a worthy end." (4) Yet Lagosians wondered if the cultural and political price of restricting street trading was set too high. Admission of the worth of the ordinance did not, the letter writer argued, confer "the right of the Government ... to invade some of the most deep rooted of parental obligations and privileges known to every portion of mankind." (5) Nor did it outweigh "consideration for any valuable thing lost" or "morally justify every means" that Government employed to achieve its child welfare goals. (6) While struggles with the state for control over children had long been familiar to Africans in some settler colonies, they were new to colonial subjects in Nigeria. (7) For Lagosians like the anonymous letter writer, passage of the Children and Young Person's Ordinance brought new questions of precisely how the concept of welfare of the young was to be understood, how welfare would be delivered to young colonial subjects, and who, Lagosian parents or the colonial state, would be most empowered to make determinations about the welfare of Lagos children into the realm of public discussion and debate.
This paper argues that the significance of the ordinance extends beyond the new questions it raised about child welfare policy and practice in Lagos. The Children and Young Person's Ordinance of 1943 also sought to produce new social categories like the modern girl. The normalization of the modern girl in Lagosian society would give justification to, and even require the cultural incursions of an emergent developmentalist colonial state. Thus transformations in childhood and transformations in colonial governance were closely tied. Through analysis of the ordinance, its origins, and the debates it provoked in Lagos, this paper seeks to illuminate the interdependence between transformations in childhood and transformations in urban colonial governance, following the end of the Second World War.
Historians working on various parts of the world have identified cosmetics, athleticism, publicness, and conspicuous consumption and sexuality, as qualities that became associated with modern girls by the second quarter of the 20th century. (8) As the editors of the influential Modern Girl Around the World collection have argued, modernist ideologies of individual autonomy, scientific racism, and social reform, also played a critical role in structuring "how people in different contexts understood the Modern Girl as modern." (9) In colonial Lagos, modernist ideologies of social reform were crucial to governmental projects for the modernization of mainstream girlhood. Yet the other properties that historians have associated with the modern girl, athleticism, publicness, and sexuality, were the very qualities that made girl hawkers to be considered not-modern and therefore in need of reform.
In an earlier article, I argued that although street trading regulations were first enacted and enforced by the British colonial state in the early 1940s, they initially came into being as part of an early 20th century modernization project of elite Lagosian women. (10) These viewed western style education as crucial to stimulating and indexing the modernization of African girlhood. Attention to the roles elite Nigerian women played in the modernization projects suggests that the coming into being of the modern girl in Lagos was less an experience of seduction and incorporation into the homogenizing fantasy worlds created by multinational cosmetics companies than it was a process of determined though stilted coercion by local social and political elites. Among Lagos social reformers, elite Nigerian women and colonial social workers, the sense of the modern in the idea of the modern girl was focused on strategies of self-improvement like western style education, job training in clerical and technical fields, and laboring in the western colonial economy. Perhaps more than Western style bodily practices, incorporation into Western educational and economic circuits was central to notions of modern girlhood in late colonial Lagos.
The late colonial period is increasingly referred to as the early development era. (11) As scholarship on the history of development work has shown, the origins of modern development discourse and practice lie in the early 1940s when the two major colonial powers, the British and the French, began to concern themselves with the social wellbeing of their African subjects. (12) As Cooper pointed out in his study of labor policy during the era of decolonization, "development" in the 1940s ceased to refer simply to economic development but became linked to an amorphous notion of welfare. Where earlier colonial regimes had been "for the most part content for Africans to be part of non-individualized collectivities", the developmentalist colonial state saw itself as having an interest in and the capability to turn Africans into "objects of surveillance and objectified knowledge." In short, modern individuals. (13)
Possibly the most fertile line of inquiry on the early development era in urban Africa has focused on the question of how development discourses and ideologies intersected with labor control and trade union politics. The types of workers that have drawn the most attention, railway workers, dockworkers, and laborers, are a largely if not wholly male population whose members tended to act in collective fashion to make claims against, or challenge the legitimacy of, the colonial state. (14) Since these skilled male workers formed a small percentage of the working population of most African cities, one wonders about workers who tended not to organize into collectives and could not pose effective challenges to the state's legitimacy or to colonial power. What types of roles did the majority of urban workers who were in the informal economy perform for a colonial government that was dedicated to stabilizing the urban workforce?
Under the developmentalist colonial state of the 1940s and 1950s, children and their street work did become sites of reformation activity. As such, children were brought under adult-style regimes of surveillance and control. In multicultural cities like Lagos where the state felt unencumbered by competition from a predominant native authority system, children's work in the 1940s ceased being enveloped in sacrosanct discourses of tradition or the household. It became an indicator of African development, modernity, or the lack thereof--all technical issues that the developmentalist colonial state had tools at the ready to address.
Some scholars have rightly questioned the notion that the interaction between the colonial state and subjects in the 1940s was significantly altered from previous decades. As Hodgson and Van Beusekom remind us, "development had been a central feature of encounters between the West and Africa since at least the early twentieth century." (15) While there were certainly continuities between economic development thinking in the 1940s and practices of exploring and exploiting the continent's resources that had been in place since the 19th century, I would argue that fixation on economic questions obscures the difference one actually finds in the 1940s. The crucial difference between pre and post-1940 was grounded in the new social, cultural, and intimate spheres of African lives that were pulled into the orbit of governmental interest.
Working in the tradition of Foucault's studies on governmentality, scholars like Joyce and Li, have identified the will to physically improve societies as a central feature of neo-liberal or developmentalist regimes. (16) Through material improvements of various kinds, the developmentalist state exhibited its interest in the needs and desires of subjects, its efficacy as a provider of desired goods, and its merit for and entitlement to the consent of the ruled. By the 1940s, various privations and demands placed on colonial subjects had fueled political restiveness. "In an era when social and political movements in the colonies were asserting themselves with new vigor," the larger colonial powers in Africa were "anxious to find a new basis of legitimacy and control." (17) Beyond gathering consent on the basis of improving services and infrastructure, the developmentalist state sought to improve people directly. The challenge of figuring out how to improve people in ways that would be recognized by and acceptable to both natives and colonists was resolved by the availability of children and young people for new forms of regulation.
If asked, few adults would have disagreed with a claim that young people were worse behaved than they had been in the past. Few would have argued against the importance of improving children and developing them into obedient and moral citizens. Thus delinquents and marginal children became the focus of improvement projects from the developmentalist colonial state. Yet as a means for commanding political legitimacy, children demanded and offered opportunities for demonstrating more than simple improvement. Going beyond the will to improve, the state displayed an even bolder will to save. By initiating a direct relationship with colonial children, the developmentalist colonial state sought to ground its legitimacy in its role as a source of salvation. Children's welfare work combined an older moral discourse of protection and salvation with a liberal discourse of improvement. The developmentalist colonial state would literally save endangered young subjects, the embodied future of colonial societies, from peril, from themselves, and most fundamentally from the societies that surrounded them.
The larger study of girl hawkers that this paper comes from begins in the mid 1920s when local elite women's groups first drew government's attention to a girl hawker problem and closes in the mid 1950s when the Nigerian Women's Party, the last pre-independence elite women's group to work on girl hawker issues, became absorbed into national politics. (18) The greatest density of sources on girl hawkers was produced in the 1940s and they cluster around 1943-4 and 1946-47. This clustering pattern correlates with the 1943 passage of street trading regulations affecting juveniles and the enactment of revised street trading regulations in 1946. There were other factors that may explain the clustering of sources around these time periods. A female social worker named Allison Izzett joined the Colony Welfare Office as the first Woman Welfare Officer in Lagos in 1946. (19) Her arrival signaled a stronger commitment to addressing welfare issues concerning women and girls. These factors may have enlivened the short bursts of debate and activity around Lagos's girl hawker problem of the 1940s. Using welfare office records, the records of women's organization, court records, oral sources, and newspaper accounts, I argue that the struggles over the application of street trading regulations to children in Lagos provide insight into statist attempts to programmatically develop a new culture of girlhood in late colonial Lagos and legitimize developmentalist governance in late colonialism.
There comes the dreaded city noise, Amusa. You live with it so you don't notice it any more. Sounds of buses, hawkers, locomotives, the grinding of brakes, the clanging of church and school bells. ... The city was awakening. (20)
In the preceding excerpt from his 1954 novel, People of the City, Cyprian Ekwensi crafts an impression of how girl hawkers figured into popular imaginings of mid-twentieth century Lagos. Ekwensi's main character, a young crime reporter named Amusa Sango, contemplates his acclimatization to Lagos's daily wake-up call, "the dreaded city noise." Mornings in Amusa's working-class neighborhood we are told, were announced by the din of buses, trains, screeching brakes and clanging church and school bells. When Ekwensi placed girl hawkers in the same category as these loud of mobile inanimate objects, he perhaps unconsciously highlighted the three key attributes of girl hawkers- their noisiness, their itinerancy, and their ironic invisibility.
In mid-twentieth century Lagos, girl hawkers were different things to different observers, although most would have agreed that at the most fundamental level they were workers. They were young itinerant sellers who walked around the city bringing cooked food and petty goods to potential customers. They could be heard at all hours in the neighborhoods of Lagos, advertising their wares in a singsong voice. One Lagosian concerned for the sleep habits of his neighbors pointed out that, "during the Muslim Ramadan season one is likely to be roused from his slumbers at so early an hour as 3a.m. while the streets are still deserted [,] by the shrill cries of young girl hawkers advertising their wares for the benefit of fasters who have to take an early breakfast." (21) Not only did girl hawkers extend the market's geographical boundaries from the center of town into the neighborhoods and compounds, but they also extended the market's hours beyond those legislated by the Lagos Town Council to the hours suited to the specific needs of Lagos inhabitants. In doing so, Lagos girl hawkers were working within a long tradition from western Yorubaland, which dates to at least the 18th century, in which women were responsible for long distance porterage and trading. (22)
Girls were not the only hawkers in Lagos but hawking was a distinct practice of mainstream Lagosian girlhood. Boys also hawked although hawking was not viewed in Yoruba societies as having the same pedagogical value for boys as it did for girls. Following a research trip to Lagos in 1948, the Haitian anthropologist Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain observed that hawking was commonly viewed as an apprenticeship towards a career in market trading and as a component in the socialization of girls. She wrote,
Chez les Ijebu (sous-tribe Yoruba) habitant Lagos ... les parents envoient souvent leurs fillettes colporter des cinq heures et demie du matin avant d'aller a l'ecole. Cette pratique est considered comme un excellent apprentissage commercial malgre les inconvenients qui peuvent en resulter au point de vue moral. (23)
Comhaire-Sylvain estimated at the time that there were 8,000 market women in the city "plus all their assistants and apprentices, both regular and occasional, four or five to one nominal market woman." (24) Supplying a much more conservative estimate, the 1950 Census which provided a breakdown of occupational groups by age and sex listed 1,451 working girls aged five to fourteen as "petty traders, hawkers, and shop assistants." (25) By contrast, only 144 boys in the same age bracket also worked as petty traders, hawkers or shop assistants, many of them selling newspapers. (26) Like market trading in Yorubaland more broadly, child hawking was a normatively female gendered occupation in the late 1940s. (27) Hawking was widely viewed by Lagosians as a normal part of the training of girls. But to critics, hawkers were associated with notions of crime, pollution, and illicit sexuality.
In the mid 1920s, Charlotte Olajumoke Obasa, then secretary of the leading multicultural elite women's organization, the Lagos Women's League, complained of what she viewed as the shiftiness of child hawkers when she recommended that the Commissioner of Lagos Colony announce a ban on hawking by children below age 13 "owing to ... stealing and immoral practice. ..." (28) Others like the health officer J. Cauchi, viewed hawkers of whatever age to be purveyors of polluted foods. "It is a fact", he noted, "that unsound foodstuffs can be more easily disposed of and sold for human consumption when offered for sale by petty traders. ..." (29) It would have been a short move from talking about the dirtiness of hawkers' wares to imagining that dirtiness was a quality of hawkers themselves.
Girl hawkers, unlike boys or women who hawked, were also highly sexualized in the imagination of critical observers who believed that hawking facilitated sexual trading among some girls while it made others vulnerable to sexual assault. The itinerancy of their work was said to encourage some girl hawkers to imagine that they could escape the sightlines of respectable society and immerse themselves, unnoticed, in a hidden world of fast sex and money. When Mrs. Akitoye, a voluntary social reformer turned social worker reported to the Chief Welfare Officer that girl hawkers had been seen "going about with 'boma' boys on the Marina and ... going into the compounds of European houses presumably to meet steward," the welfare officer surmised that theirs "was a pretty awful life" and "a great inducement for them to earn more money more easily." (30)
More positive voices on girl hawkers tended to discuss them as repositories of traditional cultural ideals and necessary contributors to both individual household economies and to the larger urban colonial economy. In his letter to the Daily Service newspaper, one Olayemi Blaize argued that girl hawkers were simply engaged in "a hoary custom." (31) Hawking, he wrote, was their "filial duty" and the income they generated staved off "untold hardship to the mothers and grandmothers for whom these children hawk." As the colonial state provided no "old age pension" or financial safety net for the old and infirmed, girl hawkers were vital to the process of enabling elderly Lagos residents to "have a bare subsistence." (32) The discourse of custom and duty may have masked various forms and degrees of coercion of young workers. Yet it certainly served to articulate a cultural ideal that was expected to and likely would have resonated with other readers. Ultimately, for both those who saw hawking as a path to sexual exploitation and those who argued that it was a timeless socialization practice, girl hawkers really only came into view once they constituted a problem. Even laudatory perspectives on girl hawkers were not so much presenting a positive idea of the girl hawker as they were responding to negative constructions. Without the attention of critical observers, girl hawkers in Lagos would have been a largely unseen and unremarkable population.
To understand how girl hawkers became objects of surveillance and regulation in the 1940s when they had not been before, one must consider the wartime context, urban population growth, and its impact on colonial social policy in Lagos. By 1940, Lagos was a port city in a British empire at war. As such it served as a transfer point for British and international ships. This meant that there was a large and visible population of foreign military men in the city. Lagosians focused special and negative attention on the growth of the military presence in their city. Military men were charged with responsibility for everything from the high prices of staple foods to the corruption of small girls. Popular opinion held that the sexual desires of foreign men and their willingness and ability to pay for sex with young girls increased the level of moral danger to be found in Lagos. Thus the wartime city was popularly construed as a hypermasculine space and threatening to the moral purity of young girls. (33)
Added to the foreign soldiers, were civilian men who were foreign to the city. Migration to Lagos from hinterland areas increased following the economic depression of the 1930s, the deterioration of the agricultural sector, and the expansion of the war-related economy. The city attracted farmers fleeing declining rural economies and youth chasing visions of opportunity and modern life. Like many other African cities, Lagos experienced a population boom in the 1940s. Between 1931 and 1950, the city's population grew by over 100%, raising the anxiety level of colonial administrators. (34)
The British regarded general urban population growth in Africa as cause for concern. The West Indian uprisings of the late 1930s had impressed colonial powers with the importance of attending to the wellbeing of colonial subjects as part of a strategy for securing and stabilizing urban centers. The human and financial strains that the Second World War placed on African colonial subjects heightened the urgency of the need to stabilize colonial cities and deter a repetition of the West Indian experience in Africa. Through the Colonial Development and Welfare Act of 1940 (or CDWA) and its later iterations, British imperial funds were directed to the acceleration of development in the colonies. Accelerating the development of colonial economies, societies, and peoples was expected to contain growing resistance to continued British colonial rule while at the same time demonstrating the beneficence of the British system of rule to increasingly vocal critics of colonialism.
In Nigeria, the CDWA funded projects for health and education development, prisons and rural development, and social welfare development among others. Social welfare, one of the most elastic areas of development work, was a catchall category for all "activities auxiliary to the work of specialist departments." (35) The first governmental ministry of social welfare in Nigeria, the Lagos Colony Welfare Office, opened in 1941 under the direction of a man named Donald Faulkner. Faulkner was a specialist in the reformation of delinquent boys who had begun his career working in British reform institutions before going on to spend several years as director of the Enugu Boys Industrial School, a juvenile prison, in Eastern Nigeria. Even though the Welfare Offices orbit of concern was wide ranging, Faulkner's background in the juvenile reform field ensured that the Lagos Colony Welfare Office (or CWO) was decidedly youth oriented in its work, and social welfare in Lagos from 1941 to the late 1950s became virtually synonymous with juvenile welfare. Thus juvenile welfare was a central facet of development practice in early development era Lagos.
Shortly after settling into his new position in Lagos, Faulkner was invited by members of the Lagos Women's League to " discuss ... some aspect of social problems as it affect women and girls in the community. ... " (36) "The opinion generally expressed," he later wrote, "is that hawking by small female children is so undesirable that it should be prohibited by law. It is felt that the legitimate trade which has to be done ... could be done well enough by small boys, and market women." (37) Faulkner's response to the anti-hawking campaign was to convene a coalition of social welfare groups into an umbrella organization that became known as the Women's Welfare Council (WWC). These included the Welfare Office, the Salvation Army, and the Lagos Women's League, the last of which was replaced a few years later by the Nigerian Women's Party. In forming the WWC, Faulkner was not only dispersing responsibility for welfare work with women and girl beyond his office. He was acknowledging three things: the arguments made by League members that women and girls had special issues that merited increased governmental attention, that League members themselves had some special interest in the welfare of women and girls on the basis of common sex, and that League members might have accumulated useful knowledge on the social welfare issues of women and girls on the basis of their past voluntary social work. The formation of the WWC reveals that in their initial encounter, League members and welfare officials regarded each other as being comparably expert in the area of urban social reform work.
The Council took on a number of projects but with respect to the regulation of girl hawkers, it functioned primarily as a lobbying organization. (38) It petitioned the colony's government for various policy measures oriented towards the control and protection of girl hawkers and also undertook a public education campaign to alert Lagosians to the problems of hawking by girls. One of the Council's more high profile public education events was a presentation it hosted on August 8 1944. That evening, Lagos residents heard a free panel discussion on the topic of "Moral Dangers in the Community." The list of seven panel members, five women and two men, would have read to contemporary observers like a who's who list of the city's African elite. Individuals like S.L. Akintola, managing editor of The Daily Service newspaper, Dr. Ibiyinka Olorun-Nimbe, a rising physician in the community, Oyinkan Abayomi, M.B.E., founding president of the Nigerian Women's Party, and others gathered that evening to identify and discuss the most pressing moral dangers facing the city of Lagos: underage prostitution and hawking by girls.
What might ordinarily be regarded as two very distinct issues, the exploitative commodification of youthful sexuality and the itinerant peddling of petty goods, were closely linked in the minds of panelists. Abayomi was said to have "attributed much of the moral laxity among girls to hawking of goods about the streets." (39) What appears to have been the lone European panelist, Mrs. C.E.M. Cadle, echoed her by tracing "much of the prostitution among girls to the habit of hawking goods about the streets." (40) Deducing that "Their guardians or mothers were partly responsible for their falling into temptation," Cadle explained to the assemblage, "A girl would be asked that she must sell all the goods handed to her within a specific period. If she could not get people to buy them she would somehow find ways and means of obtaining money to give to the mother or the guardian." (41) Another panelist, Mrs. Timson, a critic of a new music and dance style, Apala, noted that "the very sound of an 'Apala' drum was sufficient to send girls of low morals crazy." (42) Girl hawkers would put down their wares, pool their resources and engage drummers in order to dance to the 'Apala' tune. "They would then start turning, twisting, rolling and rocking in all forms of disgraceful contortions." (43) The evident sensual delight that some girl hawkers took in Apala music and Apala dancing was enough, to Timson's mind, to undermine "the pristine delicacy and grace associated with womanhood." (44) The chief danger of underage prostitution and hawking thus lay in the ways that the two practices threatened to undermine the moral uplift of women in Nigeria. By the close of the event, the panel members had pledged to ask government to ban hawking by all children below age 14.
The idea of the child that pro-regulationists operated on was the child of what world historian Peter Stearns has dubbed the modern model of childhood. (45) In Stearns' formulation, the modern model of childhood made its initial appearance in 18th century Western Europe. It was made up of a complex of three factors that featured increasing survival rates for infants and young children, decreasing birth rates for families, and the introduction of schooling as the special and primary occupation of the child. (46) This last feature of the modern model, the reorganization of childhood around the institution of the school, took large numbers of young people out of the labor pool and gradually invalidated pre-existing beliefs that children could and should, where physically able, perform income generating work.
If we take the rise of the school as the crucial aspect of the modern model, then we have to consider re-periodizing and relocating its advent. Mass education of children, even in collective settings like schools, was not a western innovation. Collective quranic schooling for the masses had been in practice in the Muslim world long before the 1700s. By the early 11th century, the Persian polymath Ibn Sina had endorsed the maktab school through his treatises on the benefits of group as opposed to individualized learning for young children. (47) Schools of initiation in traditionalist African societies undertook intensive mass education efforts at key turning points in the lives of young people. The distinctiveness of the modern model of childhood thus lies in the fact that it references western style education in particular, it posits a prolonged school career as a normative experience, and it assumes a direct antagonism between education and income generating work. By the end of the eighteenth century in the West, the normative child under the modern model had become a bearer of entitlements, including the right to not work, that were conferred on the basis of his/her social status as a child, while the child's chief responsibility became the satisfactory demonstration of childishness. (48) As the ideal modern childhood was ever more associated with notions of innocence, powerlessness, dependence, and irrationality, the danger of failing the litmus test for childhood increased and the modern childishness of young people who demonstrated sophistication, independence, or shrewdness could be called into question.
Girl hawkers embodied the negation of modern childhood with its notions of innocence, powerlessness, dependence, and irrationality. Walking the city streets with hard cash and their petty goods in hand, girl hawkers could not be unequivocally read using the terms of the modern model- innocence, powerlessness, dependence, and so on. Their female gender made their behavior even more problematic. As workers in the public sphere they defied elite gender ideals that located women in private domestic spaces. At one point regulation advocates offered to their opponents that there was a sufficient number of boys in the city to take over the work of girl hawkers and thus no demographic need for girls to hawk as much as they did. As economic actors and savvy negotiators of urban life girl hawkers easily failed the litmus test for modern childhood status. The street trading regulations promised to force them into the category of the powerless, dependent, and innocent modern child.
Before 1943, juvenile welfare work in Lagos took place on an ad-hoc practical and ideological basis. There were no standardized procedures or segregated spaces for dealing with delinquents. Nor was there any overarching framework for thinking about juvenile crimes. The CYPO43 reflected the idea that juvenile problems were a product of the environment in which juveniles operated, and not inherent to the individual child. In sharp contrast to Yoruba beliefs in the causal relationship between one's 'destiny' or essential character and one's fortunes, welfare officials frequently referenced the impact of parental example and home conditions on the behavior of problem youth. (49) The idea that the home context held potentially ameliorative effects on the behavior of delinquents, just as it held the potential for the opposite, was a central principle of early juvenile welfare work in Lagos. The challenge for welfare officials was to transfer delinquents and other problem youth from the polluting home to the purifying home. The state, welfare officials believed, could open purifying homes to rescue Lagos juveniles and provide examples of effective parenting to the general public. The CYPO43 provided a new juvenile justice framework and the legal apparatus to do just that.
The first juvenile courts in Nigeria were fully operational in Lagos and Calabar in 1946 under the provisions of the CYPO43. The courts were not opened until after the end of the Second World War due to wartime budgetary restrictions. The CYPO43 was modeled upon the Children and Young Person's Act of 1933, a statute which underlay juvenile justice policy in England until the 1960s. (50) One of its most important innovations was that it empowered the state to "rescue boys and girls from dangerous home surroundings" and drastically increased the likelihood that the state would actually do so. (51) Following passage of the Act, "where parental control was inadequate, it was more likely than before to lead to the State stepping in." (52) Thus, the CYP Act of 1933 allowed the state entry into the homes of juvenile delinquents in England and empowered state officials to remove young people from their family surroundings to reform institutions. After 1943, juvenile delinquents in Lagos navigated a similar legal process that took them from one "home" to another.
By the summer of 1945, the Juvenile Court Center of Lagos was already functioning. (53) Located at 4 Military St., the JCC was made up of the juvenile court, the probation office, the children's branch of the police, and the Lagos Boys Remand Home, a detention center for boys awaiting trial or sentencing. (54) Children were brought to the JCC by welfare officers, police officers, and their own parents and guardians. Some lost, abandoned, or abused children appeared before the court for care and protection. Most children appeared before the court as offenders to answer charges of breaking one or another township regulation.
Most juvenile offenders appearing before the court were boys and the most common criminal offenses were petty theft of items valued at [pounds sterling]5 or less, followed by theft of more valuable items, and at a distant third- serious assault. The most common outcomes for boys were probation, followed by commitment to an approved school, and a close third, caution and discharge. The most common offenses for girls by contrast were what shall be referred to as status transgressions or acts that involved transgression of the social status of 'child.' Status transgressions, as opposed to more commonly known status offenses such as "violations of parental authority", "running away from home", "being a person in need of supervision," "minor in need of supervision," being "incorrigible," "beyond control," "truant," or in need of "care and protection," allowed that girls could be apprehended for not satisfactorily performing the legally prescribed social role of child."
Of all annual reports on social welfare for years between 1945 and 1950, the 1947 Social Welfare Annual Report provides the most comprehensive profile of juvenile welfare work in the Colony Welfare Office. This may be because 1947 was the first full year of operation of the juvenile court. The 1947 report grouped juvenile offenses into two categories: Crimes and Contraventions of Township Bye-Laws by persons under 14 years of age. The tables that follow graph gender differences in rates of criminal offenses and "contraventions of township bye-laws" among boys and girls. Table 1, which compares arrests for criminal offenses, shows that in 1947 thirteen times as many boys as girls were apprehended for criminal offenses. Table 2, which compares arrests for contraventions of township bye-laws, chiefly street trading violations, shows the attest of three times as many girls as of boys.
Table 1 Juvenile Criminal Statistics January - December 1947 Offence M F Serious Assault 30 3 Child Stealing (Kidnapping) 0 1 Indecent Assault 3 0 Other offence against person 22 2 Armed Robbery 1 0 House Breaking by Day 5 0 Receiving Stolen Property 3 0 Suspicion of conveying 16 0 Stealing [pounds sterling]5 or above 50 4 Stealing below [pounds sterling]5 167 12 Other offence against property 8 3 Illicit distillation 2 0 Rogues and vagabondage 12 0 Other miscellaneous offences 6 0 Totals: 325 25 Data Source: Nigeria, Social Welfare Annual Report, 1947. CAMP: Social Welfare Annual Reports: microfilm reel 99, Appendix II. Table 2 Juvenile Contraventions of Township Bye-Laws January - December 1947 Offence M F Exposing Articles for Sale (Under 14 years old) 33 34 Exposing Articles for Sale (14-17 years old) 35 23 Other Contravention Cases 32 1 Street Trading Contraventions 220 684 Totals: 320 742 Data Source: Nigeria, Social Welfare Annual Report, 1947. CAMP: Social Welfare Annual Reports: microfilm reel 99, Appendix II.
Taken together, the tables show that the absolute number of children arrested for street trading violations alone was more than triple the number of children arrested for the thirteen other offenses listed in the 1947 report. Additionally, the number of girls arrested for street trading was greater than the number of boys arrested for criminal offenses and street trading violations put together. Patterns displayed in the graphs may reflect a culture of gender profiling whereby boys were more often targeted for criminal investigations than girls. They may simply reflect differences in the numbers of boys versus girls who hawked or they may reflect the zeal welfare officials initially brought to policing street hawking.
For years following enactment of the street trading regulations hundreds of girls were arrested, detained, brought before juvenile court magistrates, and fined. Between 1946 and 1951, 1259 girls or an average of 210 girls per year, appeared before a juvenile court magistrate to answer hawking charges. Violators of the Street Trading Regulations were more likely to be fined and quickly released than to receive any other type of punishment. In 1948, 100% of the 362 girl hawkers taken to the Girls Hostel after their court appearance were released after a few days. In 1949, 33 of the 40 hawkers detained at the Girls Hostel, or over 82% were released. Between December 30th and March 31st 1951, over 80% or, 124 of the 152 girl hawkers brought before the court were fined and released. The remaining 28 were cautioned and discharged on the spot. Exceptions to this rule were made when girls were found to have venereal diseases. (56) Infected girl hawkers were regarded as moral danger cases or "children in need of care and protection" and detained for longer periods to undergo medical treatment.
Hawking fines were something of a profit generator for the state. In his 1949 annual report on the Colony Welfare Service, Faulkner reported that fines for contraventions of street trading regulations during the year totaled [pounds sterling]1,097-15.0d. The fines, he wrote, made "a substantial contribution towards the expenses incurred in operating the Juvenile Court" and were "in all cases paid by parents and guardians." (57) Fines varied widely, and seemed often to depend on the mood of the magistrate. An article on the trial and sentencing of six girls named Moyinola Oyegbende, Kanyinde Nudi, Raliatu, Wura, Seliya Agbeke Segun, and Wuraola, "all under 13 years of age", recorded that the girls' fines were set in the neighborhood of 10/-each for street trading violations. (58) Less than one month later, J.T. Nelson-Cole, the same magistrate who had fined Moyinola and company 10/- each, fined two other girls, Kokumo Olowu and Humu Ayinke, [pounds sterling]5 each for the same offense. (59) On learning of the arbitrary fining problem from Women's Party members, Police Superintendent A.T. Trumble was said to have expressed surprise that girls were being fined up to [pounds sterling]5 for violating hawking regulations. Yet he went on to comment that even though the law provided a maximum fine of 10/- for unsanctioned hawking, he "could not stop the magistrate from doing his work." (60) Ultimately magistrates had broad discretion in determining penalties for street hawking, the welfare office benefitted from the revenues girl hawker fines produced, records emerged for and otherwise archivally reticent parents, guardians, and employers.
Girl hawkers tended to be cycled through the system very quickly, so data on their experiences in the juvenile justice system and the proceedings and outcomes of their cases tend to be rather thin. As such, girl hawker cases are poor sources for getting at the inner workings of the reform system for girls. Criminal offense cases produced richer records and can provide some insight into what I term the domesticist ideologies underlying the reform system for girls.
The domesticist ideologies underlying juvenile girl reform reflected and perpetuated a gender ideology that held men to be the normative household breadwinner and women to be homemakers. (61) This was one of the areas of commonality between British and Yoruba cultural ideas of girlhood. Both viewed domestic training to be a desirable aspect of the education and socialization of girls. (62) The point of difference was that in the state's view, domestic training for girls was preferred to the exclusion of other more commercially oriented forms of training. When the state attempted to impose this ideology upon girl hawkers in Lagos, it created a scenario in which girl hawkers were expected to relinquish their roles as urban workers in order to be considered productive and gender appropriate contributors to society.
The case of a girl named Raliatu Aduke is illustrative of some of the ways in which domesticist ideologies permeated the state's reform strategies for girls. In late January 1951, fourteen year old Raliatu Aduke appeared before the Juvenile Court in Lagos to answer a charge of stealing [pounds sterling]14 worth of clothing. Raliatu, a domestic worker, acknowledged that the clothes were found in her possession, but claimed that her employers gave them to her. During a routine interview with a juvenile court official Raliatu declared that she was a runaway from Ibadan and had come to Lagos on her own to find work as a "maidservant" when her former occupation as a petty trader in Ibadan became unprofitable. (63) She claimed to have run away when her stepmother and her father, Salimonu Akande, a tailor of Akinwunmi Compound, were absent from home.
About ten days after her first court appearance, investigators with the Colony Welfare Office in Lagos located Raliatu's father. They notified him of his daughter's predicament in Lagos, and tried to determine whether or not he was willing and able to regain custody and, more importantly, control over the delinquent girl. Akande was anxious to have Raliatu returned to Ibadan. Raliatu, on the other hand, was "still desirous to work in Lagos." (64) The Juvenile Court magistrate wrote a summons for Akande to appear before the court to participate in a discussion of his daughter's future.
At Raliatu's May 15th hearing, when all concerned parties were assembled, the Juvenile Court Magistrate decided to place Raliatu on probation for three years on the condition that she lived in a "good home" and worked as a maidservant throughout the three-year period. Lagos social welfare officer A.I. Bob-Manuel took responsibility for placing Raliatu in her new home with a new domestic job. The case of Raliatu Aduke seemed to finally be closed after five uncertain months. Yet ten weeks after Raliatu bad been relocated to her new home with a new domestic job, she was on the move again. Her case worker, Bob-Manuel, reported her disappearance to the District Officer in Ibadan in December; months after Raliatu had broken her probation order. On January 22nd, 1952, around the one-year anniversary of Raliatu initial court hearing the Lagos Juvenile Court issued a warrant for her arrest. Neither her father nor her caseworker knew where she could be found. The striking thing about Raliatu's case is that even by 1951, the best solution the welfare system could propose for a girl who was accused of theft while working as a domestic worker, was to reassign her to another job as a domestic worker. Keeping problem girls in a home context, busied with preparation for a life of domesticity, seemed to be both a matter of necessity and or unwritten policy for the juvenile welfare system.
The juvenile welfare network in the city, which included the juvenile court, the Colony Welfare Office, and voluntary social reform groups, was compelled to continually defend and promote girl hawker arrests. Effective enforcement of the street trading regulations required the cooperation of a skeptical and reluctant Lagos public. The class, race, and age differences between vocal social reformers and silent girl hawkers suggest that the kinds of social control imperatives that informed the regulation of girls in war time Britain in the 20th century also motivated regulation advocates in Lagos. (65) Like their counterparts in other areas of the world, pro-regulationists imagined themselves to be girl savers. The challenge welfare activists faced was how to convince ordinary Lagosians who employed and patronized girl hawkers, of the merits of a virtual prohibition on hawking by girls in the city. One of the strategies regulation advocates employed was to use a frightening death centered discourse to make their case. The death discourse held that sexual contact between men and girl hawkers resulted in the deaths of the girls and further that the practice of hawking by girls was the primary vehicle through which these deadly encounters were made. Put this way, the ban on hawking by girls was constructed as a means for saving the very lives of Lagos girl hawkers.
The death discourse was grounded in the stories of girl hawkers who had fallen victim to brutal murderous rapes. Three highly publicized cases that took place between August 1944 and June 1946 were repeatedly held up as evidence that girls in general, and girl hawkers in particular, would meet their deaths at the hands of lustful male killers if the public did not rally behind the CYPO of 1943. The first of the three cases concerned a girl named Saudatu Afo whose death was reported on in the Lagos Daily Service, one of the more widely circulated daily newspapers in the city. (66) Saudatu's corpse was found in Oyingbo Market apparently with evidence of sexual assault. The second case concerned the murder of a girl hawker named Badiaran who was sexually assaulted and killed shortly after she began her evening work shift. She was described as being 10 years old and approximately 4 feet 6 inches and tall. Her head was shaven and she was wearing a blue buba the last time she was seen alive. Badiaran, a resident of 32 Alof Street in Lagos, left home at around 5p.m. on March 12th 1945 to hawk kerosene. Investigators determined that she had been assaulted and killed sometime between 7 and 10p.m. that night. Her slight body was discovered the following day unceremoniously abandoned on the Lagos Race Course. (67) Initial coverage of the third murderous rape case was published on Thursday June 20, 1946. Two days prior, 11-year old Olawunmi Olusanya had been sent out to hawk fufu at around 8p.m., dinnertime for many families. When Olawunmi did not return home at the expected hour, her relatives set out on a search for her and later alerted the police of her disappearance. By morning, Olawunmi was dead. Her corpse was found with bloodied genitalia in the "Dig for Victory Garden." (68)
The stories of Saudatu, Badiaran, and Olawunmi formed the base of the pro-regulationists death discourse. Lagos residents were frequently reminded of these three stories and warned that their own daughters might meet the same horrible end if parents and guardians continued to resist the street-trading ban. During the trial of the aforementioned Moyinola and co. Magistrate Cole launched "scathing remarks" at the girls and their families, which included reminding them of "the incidents which took place last year and Wednesday last ... when young girl hawkers were badly assaulted by men and done to death." (69) An anonymous editorial published a few days later applauded the magistrate's statements and condemned parents and guardians who "in flagrant disregard of the law, send out children or wards who should be in school, to the not too tender mercies of irresponsible hooligans." (70) Perhaps, the editorial writer opined, a year's passing had already erased the memory of Badiaran's foul murder from the minds of most readers. But the fresh shock of Olawunmi's death was "still tingling the ears." (71) Inattention and the short-term memories of parents and guardians, the writer warned, would leave Lagos girls open to the predation of murderous rapists. The only hope for endangered girls in Lagos was to be hidden away from questionable men; to be placed out of reach within the walls of the home or the school.
Lagos residents responded to pro-regulationist appeals with some qualified statements of praise and much criticism. Despite the fact that the street trading regulations disproportionately impacted girl hawkers, critics tended to focus on their impacts on "sideline groups": boys and parents. The new era of social development had brought the state so deeply into the private lives of ordinary Lagosians that it threatened to usurp the privileged position of the parent. In his/her critique of the enforcement practices surrounding the hawking ban, one city resident complained that, "No proper consideration seems to have been given at all to the rights of parents." "Young people are exposed to many public dangers," he or she wrote, "but it is inevitable that parents should be conceded enough of responsibility and good judgment to do nothing which clearly leads their children to harm's way." (72)
More stringent opposition coalesced around the notion that boy hawkers should also be subjected to regulation under the street trading regulations. Lagosians argued for various reasons that boys, particularly boys who sold newspapers, should be altogether exempted from the street trading regulations. Opinion was widespread that newspaper hawkers were noble and determined young scholars who suffered from the simple misfortune of having been born into poor families. A boy who found in newspaper selling "an avenue of earning a humble income to enable him to further his education cannot, in fairness," one person wrote, "be excluded from so doing unless free education is introduced in the country." (73)
Praise for boy hawkers reached incredible heights. Some argued that boys who hawked newspapers had to be exempted from street trading regulations for the benefit of society at large. "There is a member of modern and civilized community" one reader wrote "unassuming, adventurous, irrepressible who has made himself absolutely indispensable. Neither the intense heat of the burning sun nor the heavy downpour of early morning rain has ever succeeded to drive him off the street ... On many a day his sweet, sonorous, and musical cry announces the dawn and makes the modern man who hears it anxious to attune his mind to the general trend of events outside ... This ubiquitous personality, this modern gospeller, this irrepressible character, this herald of the dawn is the Newsvendor." (74) The newsboy was, in the writer's view, an essential link between readers and the outside world, between readers and modernity. The newsboy not only heralded the dawn of new knowledge for individuals, he personified a "modern and civilized community." (75) The newsboy was an indispensable part of the community because of the commodity he carried -information- as well as the means through which he marketed it; using his "sweet, sonorous, and musical cry" to announce new news at every door. (76) Newsboys, and implicitly all boys, the author argued, should be excluded from the street trading regulations. "What is the purpose," he or she asked, "of including newsboys below age 14 in it?" (77) Zeroing in on the essentially moral function of the street trading regulations, the writer asked, "Is there any fear of their being raped?" (78)
As resourceful entrepreneurs and determined scholars, boy hawkers, many argued, were to be rewarded for and not restricted in their commercial activities. In such statements, the student and young trader was constructed as decidedly male. The most potent arguments presented by defenders of girl hawkers, by contrast, referred to the ways in which hawking enabled girls to better provide domestic rather than public services. Girl hawkers were always either working to provide their families with "a bare subsistence" or they were depicted as contributing to "help their parents in preparing for their trousseaux." (79) While the trousseau building argument for the defense of hawking by girls was most likely grounded in truth, its persuasive power was derived from the way that it capitalized on the convergence of 'traditional' and emerging notions of youthful femininity and domesticity. Where the cries of boy hawkers were regarded as "sweet, sonorous, and musical", the cries of girl hawkers were characterized as "shrill"; where boy hawkers were seen as struggling valiantly to lift themselves out of ignorance, girl hawkers were variously constructed as rape victims and junior Jezebels by their critics, or as dutiful homemakers in the making by their advocates.
We read in a periodical a few weeks ago that girl hawkers ought to be in bed early in the morning when they are heard hawking in the streets. Our mode of thought should be influenced more by local circumstances than by foreign model. Why should all our customs based on indigenous practices be condemned? Our social habits have their own tales to tell. (80)
Pro-regulationist arguments that rendered hawking as a social ill, girl hawkers as imperiled, vulnerable and dependent social minors in need of cloistering, and the prohibition of hawking to he an effective response to illicit sexualization of girl hawkers, did not easily take root with the general Lagos public. As the opening excerpt from Blaize's letter suggests, some Lagos resident felt that the street trading regulations did far more than control the labor of young people; street trading regulations were viewed as a direct attack on "indigenous practices" and social categories, another battlefield in an ideational war between British colonial culture and local Yoruba culture. By July 22, 1946, even Oyinkan Abayomi, then president of the Nigerian Women's Party was suggesting that the colonial government should be approached to suspend the CYPO43 until the end of the year by which point al! interested groups would have had time to fully study the ordinance. (81) The Women's Party's request had no perceptible impact. Arrests of girl hawkers continued as did the practice of hawking by girls into the independence period.
For a time while girl hawkers were a special issue of governmental concern, girls who hawked challenged elite and colonialist notions of the child as well as their attempts to impose girlhood, a distinctly gendered variation on childhood, onto their lives. In order to be rescued by elite women and the developmentalist state, the girl hawker had to be reconstructed as a innocent, dependent modern child. That identity had to be paired with a concept of femininity that privileged women's domestic activities over their public activities. Such notions of female gender were alien to Yoruha thought. The noted sociologist Oyeronke Oyewumi has convincingly argued that Yoruba conceptions of anatomical sex difference are erroneously translated into Western derived concepts of gender difference. Besides her argument that the discourse of sex difference in Yoruba epistemology did not correlate with the "dichotomous discourse ... about two binarily opposed and hierarchical social categories" that obtained in Western epistemology, she argues that okunrin and obinrin, the Yoruba categories for "male" and "female" only apply to adult human beings, and are not "normally used for omode (children). ..." (82) Gender differences between the practice of childhood for girls and the practice of childhood for boys may have been less pronounced among common people of Lagos than they were within British or elite Lagosian culture. In their efforts to save the girl hawkers of Lagos, elite women and the developmentalist colonial state attempted to impose the modern model of Western childhood along with alien gender ideology onto girl hawkers' bodies.
A few witnesses like one Akin Allen, who asked how Lagosians could hope to avoid constant law-breaking given the "amazing stretch of vocabulary" that defined hawking as "playing, singing or performing for profit," casually derided the street trading regulations. (83) Hundreds of others quietly bailed girls out of the system. Yet others used the debate over street trading regulations to critique the educational, economic, and social policies of the late colonial state. The downfall of the developmentalist program was that it was subject to the sympathies of a generally unsympathetic Lagos public full of parents, guardians, and communities who resisted the onslaught on their "indigenous practices" and ideologies of children and childhood. (84)
Even the post-independence state, though for reasons that had more to do with urban beautification than the regulation of girl's labor or sexuality, regularly attempted and failed to clear the streets of Lagos of young hawkers. Further research will determine how the anti-hawking campaigns of the post-independence state compared to the anti-hawking campaign of the colonial developmentalist state. Certainly the colonial state's campaign was the first and most ambitious of its kind. The girl hawker campaign of the 1940s sought to control the labor of a segment of the unregulated working population by restricting hawking by girls. Since opponents of regulation considered hawking to have pedagogical and economic value outweighing the domestic training the state sought to encourage, regulation advocates found themselves working at odds with both a distinctly Yoruba ideology of childhood which viewed children as economic contributors, and Yoruba ideas of gender which conceptualized men and women as comparable economic actors.
The developmentalist colonial state was "anxious to find a new basis of legitimacy and control in an era when social and political movements in the colonies were asserting themselves with new vigor." (85) Through labor regulation, the developmentalist colonial state sought to construct new socio-economic categories among its subjects. But it also sought to construct new cultural categories. In Lagos the street trading regulations were part of a complex of mechanisms that served the coming into being of the universal child in Africa. The question is what did the concept of child signify to Lagos residents and colonial officials by 1943 and how did the significance of the category structure policies around children and work or struggles between "indigenous practices" and British colonial culture? What was the interplay between developmentalist governance and constructions of the child, in this instance the female child, in late colonial Lagos? At the heart of the struggle over the street trading regulations were these more fundamental philosophical questions about the nature of the child and its relationship to society, the polity, and modernity.
Department of History
New York, NY 10027
I wish to thank the many individuals who commented on earlier drafts of this article presented at the American Historical Association meeting in 2008, at meetings of the Greater New York Historians of Africa Workshop in 2007 and 2008, and at the Biennial Conference of the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth in 2009. I am especially indebted to Richard Roberts, Benjamin Lawrance, Carolyn Brown, Mamadou Diouf, Brian Larkin, Carina Ray, Toja Okoh, Benjamin Talton, Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Judith Byfield, Maja Horn, Molly Tamhor, Mona El-Ghobashy, Betsy Esch, and the anonymous reviewers from the Journal of Social History for their suggestions.
(1.) See Bayo A. Lawal, "Markets and Street Trading in Lagos" in Toyin Falola and Steven J. Salm, Nigerian Cities (Trenton, NJ 2004).
(2.) Nigeria, "Children and Young Persons Street Trading Regulations, 1946 Made Under the Children and Young Persons Ordinance, 1943" Annual Volume of the Lam of Nigeria containing all legislation enacted during the year 1946 (Lagos, 1948).
(3.) Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain, "Le Travail Des Femmes a Lagos Nigeria." Zaire: Revue Congolaise 5.2 (1951); B.W. Hodder and U. I. Ukwu. Markets in West Africa: Studies of Markets and Trade among the Yoruba and Ibo (Ibadan, Nigeria, 1969); Niara Sudarkasa, Where Women Work: A Study of Yoruba Women in the Marketplace and in the Home. (Ann Arbor, 1973); Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, Yoruba Women, Work, and Social Change (Bloomington, IN 2009).
(4.) "The C. & Y.P. Ordinance," The Daily Service October 14 1946.
(7.) Beverly Grier, Invisible Hands: Child Labor and the State in Colonial Zimbabwe (Portsmouth, NH, 2006).
(8.) Alys Eve Weinbaum, Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Yue Dong, and Tani E. Barlow, editors, The Modern Girl. Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization (Durham, NC, 2008).
(9.) Weinbaum et al.,., The Modern Girl around the World, 7.
(10.) Abosede George "Feminist Activism and Class politics: The Example of the Lagos Girl Hawker Project." Women's Studies Quarterly 35 (2007): 128-143.
(11.) Frederick Cooper and Randall M. Packard, International Development and the Social Science: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge (Berkeley, 1997); James Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: "Development," Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho (New York, 1990).
(12.) Frederick Cooper, Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa (New York, 1996); Monica M. van Beusekom and Dorothy L. Hodgson, "Lessons Learned? Development Experiences in the Late Colonial Period," The Journal of African History Vol. 41, No. (2000): 29-33
(13.) Cooper, Decolonization and African Society, 15.
(14.) Cooper, Decolonization and African Society.; Lindsay, Lisa. "Domesticity and Difference: Male Breadwinners, Working Women, and Colonial Citizenship in the 1945 Nigerian General Strike." The American Historical Review 104.3 (1999); Carolyn A. Brown, "We Were All Slaves": African Miners, Culture, and Resistance at the Enugu Government Colliery (Portsmouth, NH, 2003).
(15.) Hodgson and Van Beusekom, 'Lessons Learned" pg. 29
(16.) Patrick Joyce, The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City (London, 2003); Tanya Li:, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics (Durham, NC, 2007).
(17.) Frederick Cooper, '"Our strike': equality, anticolonial politics and the 1947-48 railway strike in French West Africa," Journal of African History 37 (1996): 83.
(18.) Before 1926, C. Olajumoke Obasa and a voluntary organization known as the Lagos Women's League were agitating for aggressive government control of hawking. NAI, ComCol. I No. 498, Lagos Women's League 1924/50 C. Olajumoke Obasa, letter to The Resident of the Colony, 6 August 1926; Around the same time, anthropologist Sylvia Leith-Ross mentioned seeing a pile of documents on child hawkers in the office of the lieutenant governor of Nigeria. See Sylvia Leith-Ross, Stepping Stones: Memoirs of Colonial Nigeria, 1907-1960 (London, 1983) 83.
(19.) NAI, ComCol I. File No. 2862 I, Social Development and Welfare 1944-48, Oliver Stanley, letter to The Officer Administering the Government of Nigeria, 22 May 1945.
(20.) Cyprian Ekwensi, People of the City (London, 1963) 9.
(21.) "Street Hawking by Young Girls," Daily Service 20 June 1946.
(22.) McIntosh, Yoruba Women 130.
(23.) Comhaire-Sylvain, "Le travail de femmes a Lagos, Nigeria" 174.
(24.) Cited in Catherine Coquery-Vidrovirch, African Women: A Modern History trans. Beth Gillian Raps (Boulder, CO, 1997) 95-96. Original source of statistic is Comhaire-Sylvain, "Le travail des femmes a Lagos Nigeria," 183.
(25.) Nigeria, Department of Statistics. Population Census of logos 1950 (Kaduna, Nigeria, 1951) 74-76.
(26.) Ibid. The discrepancy between Comhaire-Sylvain's calculations and the census figures on girl hawkers may be explained as a function of the political climate in which the census was taken and the criteria used for establishing census categories. Girl hawkers were surveyed during a period when their work was increasingly policed and they may have been less likely to be forthcoming about being hawkers. Children were found in many other occupational categories working as tutors, clerks, salespersons, wood, metal, leather and textile craft workers, in the farming and fishing industries, as cooks, gardeners, hair dressers, barbers, and clothes washers. See Nigeria Department of Statistics, Population Census of Lagos 1950 74-76. More illicit occupations included working as thieves, thieves' aides, as pimps, or as touts. See NAI, ComCol. I No, 2471, Juvenile Delinquency in Lagos. (2)Juvenile Court, Lagos. "Juvenile Delinquency in Lagos" Report of D. Faulkner and H. J. Savory, dare unknown; Laurent Fourchard, "Urban Poverty, Urban Crime, and Crime Control: The Lagos and Ibadan Cases, 1929-45" in Steven J. Salm and Toyin Falola, African Urban Spaces in Historical Perspective (Rochester, NY, 2005) 291-319; Simon Heap, "'Their Days are Spent in Gambling and Loafing, Pimping for Prostitutes and Picking Pockets': Male Juvenile Delinquents on Lagos Island, 1920-1960," Journal of Family History Vol. 35, No. 1, (2010) 48-70.
(27.) Sudarkasa, Where Women Work.; McIntosh. Yoruba Women.
(28.) NAI. "Comcol. I" No. 498, Lagos Women's League 1924/50. C. Olajumoke Obasa: letter to Resident of the Colony. 6 August 1926.
(29.) NAI, AdminCol File No. 1368 Vol. 1, Market & Street Trading in Lagos, "Petty Trading," Memo from J. Cauchi, Medical Officer of Health, to Secretary, Lagos Town Council, 31 March 1932.
(30.) Excerpted from a handwritten memo from welfare officer Donald Faulkner to the Commissioner of the Colony. In the memo, Faulkner states that girl hawkers were involved in a "sinister service" supplying girls to military personnel. Clear mention is made of sailors being the chief clients of the girl prostitution service, "the sailor just coming off the ship, meeting the girl and then going back on the ship." The memo also indicates that the welfare office planned an operation to catch participants in the sinister service in the act. The sting operation was apparently sabotaged. "I tried to get the Police to catch them but I understand there was a leakage about our intentions and so nothing was found." NAI, ComCol I. File No. 2844, Child Prostitution in Lagos 1943-46, D.E. Faulkner, handwritten report to Commissioner of the Colony, 9 July 1942. See Simon Heap, "Their Days are Spent in Gambling and Loafing"; Laurent Fourchard, "Lagos and the Invention of Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria, 1920-60," The Journal of African History 47.1 (2006): 115-37; NAI, ComCol. I No. 2471, Juvenile Delinquency in Lagos. (2)Juvenile Court, Lagos. "Juvenile Delinquency in Lagos" Report of D. Faulkner and H. J. Savory, date unknown.
(31.) "The C. & Y.P. Ordinance." The Daily Service October 14 1946.
(32.) Olayemi Blaize, "Moral Dangers in the Community," The Daily Times November 2 1944.
(33.) Mabogunje's analysis of census data from 1930s to the 1950s bears out this claim. See Akin Mabogunje. Urbanization in Nigeria (New York, 1969): 238-273.
(34.) Peil's data source calculates a leap from 126,108 in 1931 to 267,407 in 1952. For the same period, Akintola-Arikawe's sources record an even greater jump from 126,108 to 346,137. Despite the statistical discrepancies in the level of population growth, it is clear that Lagos continued to attract new immigrants throughout the 1940s. See Margaret Peil, Lagos: The City is the People (Boston, 1991). See also Adefuye, Agiri and Osuntokun, editors, History of the Peoples of Lagos State (Lagos, 1987) 107.
(35.) Nigeria Legislative Council, Ten-Year Plan for Development and Welfare for Nigeria, 1946 (Lagos, 1946) 122.
(36.) NAI, ComCol.I File No. 498 Lagos Women's League 1924/50 Letter from Akinwande Jones to Colony Welfare Officer, August 14, 1942.
(37.) NAI, ComCol.I "Hawking by Children in Lagos" D.E. Faulkner, letter to President, Lagos Town Council, September 1942 letter to President.
(38.) The WWC took on a range of social welfare issues and activities. The Council was interested in the experiences of incarcerated people and at one point lobbied for some of their members to be appointed to the Board of Visitors for Prisons. At another point, the Council put together a small delegation of members to visit the Yaba Lunatic Asylum. The WWC also opened a weekly subscription based recreational Girls Club where members could practice drawing, painting, musical performance, acting, dancing, and craft making. NAI ComCol. I. "Prison Visitors" File No. 248/107 Women's Welfare Council 1942. Commissioner of the Colony G.B. Williams, December 18, 1942.; NAI ComCol. I File No. 288/1107/37 Women's Welfare Council, 1942. D. E. Faulkner, "Visit to Lunatic Asylum" letter to Major Akinwande Jones, Hon Sec of Women's Party, November 22, 1943. "The Women's Welfare Council Club," The Daily Service Friday, October 27 1944.
(39.) "Women's Welfare League's Protest Meeting against Moral Dangers Proves a Big Success" Govt Will Be Asked to Forbid Hawking by Girls of Tender Age." The Daily Service Thursday August 10. 1944: 1, 4.
(45.) Peter N. Steams, Childhood in World History (New York, 2006).
(46.) Stearns, Childhood in World History, 55.
(47.) M.S. Asimov and C.E. Bosworth, History of Civilizations of Central Asia Vol IV: The Age of Achievement (UNESCO Publishing, 1998)33-34.
(48.) Chris Jenks, Childhood (New York, 2005) 11.
(49.) See for example Donald Faulkner, Social Welfare and Juvenile Delinquency in Lagos, Nigeria (London, 1950); Simon Bankole Wright, "Juvenile Delinquency Is Seen From A Scientific Standpoint," West African Pilot, July 29 1943 1, 4; Bankole-Wright, "Environmental Conditions Also Affect Juvenile Delinquents," West African Pilot, July 31 1943 1.
(50.) Direct linkages between juvenile justice systems in England and Lagos could be seen in legislation and personnel. For example, later on in his career, Oliver Stanley one of the architects of the CYP Act 1933 consulted on social policy in Nigeria through the Social Welfare Advisory Committee of the Colonial Office. NAI, ComCol I. File No. 2862 I, Social Development and Welfare 1944-48, Oliver Stanley, letter to The Officer Administering the Government of Nigeria, 22 May 1945.
(51.) Victor Bailey, Delinquency and Citizenship: Reclaiming the Young Offender, 1914-1948 (Oxford, 1987)8.
(52.) Bailey, Delinquency and Citizenship, 110.
(53.) NAI, ComCol. I, No. 2796, Remand Home-Lagos, "Child Welfare in Lagos- Remand Home," E.A. Carr, Acting Commissioner of the Colony, memo to The Chief Secretary to the Government Lagos, 1945.
(54.) Boys were kept on remand at the Salvation Army Home until colony administration was able to convert the old Tapa Police Station at 42 Oshodi Street into a remand home. Tapa House was the official boy's remand home from August 1943 until August 1945 when the remand home was moved to 4 Military Street under the Prisons Ordinance.
(55.) Meda Chesney-Lind, "'Girls, Violence, and Delinquency: Popular Myths and Persistent Problems," in Susan O. White, editor, Handbook of Youth and Justice (New York 2001).
(56.) Nigeria, Annual Report on the General Progress of Development and Welfare Schemes 1948-49.:CAMP: Social Welfare Annual Reports; microfilm reel 99
(57.) Nigeria, Annual Report on the Colony Welfare Service, 1949.: CAMP: Social Welfare Annual Reports: microfilm reel 99.
(58.) "Magistrate Issues Warning Against Hawking by Girls," The Daily Service, 22 June 1946.
(59.) "Two Female Hawkers Fined [pounds sterling]5 Each for Street Trading," The Daily Service, Friday, 12 July 1946. See "Women's Party Meets on Hawking Law & Aso Ebi," The Daily Service, Monday 12 July 1946.
(60.) "Women's Party Meets on Hawking Law & Aso Ebi,"
(61.) For a nuanced discussion of the complex politics of this gender ideology in colonial Nigeria see Lisa Lindsay, "Domesticity and Difference: Male Breadwinners, Working Women, and Colonial Citizenship in the 1945 Nigerian General Strike," The American Historical Review 104.3 (1999).
(62.) LaRay Denser, "Domestic Training in Colonial Yorubaland, Nigeria" in Karen T. Hansen, editor, African Encounters With Domesticity (New Brunswick, NJ, 1992).
(63.) NAI, Provincial Administration, File No. 1232 Vol II, Juvenile Offenders: Matters Affecting Enugu Approved School, 15th May 1934, "re Raliatu Aduke - 14 years" A. Bob-Manuel, Social Welfare Officer, to District Officer Ibadan, 22 January 1951.
(64.) NAI, Provincial Administration, File No. 1212 Vol II, A. Bob-Manuel, to District Officer Ibadan, 27 Feb 1951.
(65.) See for example Sonya Rose, "Sex, Citizenship and the Nation in World War II Britain," American Historical Review (1998): 1147-1176; Angela Woolacott, "Khaki Fever and Its Control: Gender, Class, Age and Sexual Morality on the British Homefront in the First World War," Journal of Contemporary History (1994): 325-347.
(66.) "Accused in Oyingbo Market Murder Case Is Found Not Guilty and Discharged," Daily Service 24 August 1944.
(67.) "Young Girl Found Dead on Race Course," Nigerian Daily Times 15 March 1945.
(68.) "Eleven-Year-Old Girl Hawker Is Found Dead in Public Garden: Cause of Death Shrouded in Mystery" West African Pilot Thursday June 20, 1946 1; "Corpse of 11-Year Old Girl Is Found in Victory Garden" Daily Service Thursday June 20, 1946 1.
(69.) "Magistrate Issues Warning Against Hawking By Girls" Daily Service Saturday June 22, 1946 1
(70.) "Girl Hawkers in Lagos" Daily Service Monday June 24 1946.
(72.) "The C. & Y.P. Ordinance," The Daily Service October 14 1946.
(73.) "Children and Young People's Ordinance" West African Pilot Saturday July 6 1946; "Street Trading Ordinance," The Daily Service 6 July 1946; "Women's Party Meets on Hawking Law & Aso Ebi," The Daily Service 12 July 1946.
(74.) "Street Trading Ordinance," The Daily Service, 6 July 1946.
(79.) C. Olayemi Blaize, "Moral Dangers in the Community" The Daily Times November 2 1944. "Lagos Women Petition Govt On Young Persons Ord." The Daily Service, October 14, 1946 1,4.
(80.) Blaise. "Moral Dangers".
(81.) "Women's Party Meets on Hawking Law & Aso Ebi" Tin' Daily Service Monday July 22 1946.
(82.) Oyewumi, Oyeronke. The Invention of Women: Making an African Save of Western Gender Discourses (Minneapolis, 1997).
(83.) H. Akin Allen, "Law-Breakers!" Nigeria Daily Times June 15 1948.
(84.) "The C. & Y.P. Ordinance," The Daily Service October 14 1946.
(85.) Frederick Cooper, "Our strike".
By Abosede George
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|Title Annotation:||SECTION III YOUTH|
|Publication:||Journal of Social History|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2011|
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