Pawnship, Slavery, and Colonialism in Africa
The twenty essays in this volume explore the institution of debt bondage in Africa, in which individuals were held as collateral—usually by members of the same family—in lieu of debts that had been incurred. The reliance on personal relationship to guarantee credit arrangements worked well in principal because kinship ties were protected and exploitation levels were thereby limited. Nonetheless, pawnship exposed dependants to the possibilities of enslavement in the event of default on the loan and placed individuals in precarious positions which could result in considerable abuse of original intentions.
Lovejoy, Paul E.
Paul E. Lovejoy and Toyin Falola, eds., Pawnship, Slavery, and Colonialism in Africa (Tenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003)