1926E. Prov. Herald 23 Feb. 7Did honorary members think that the wine farmer was such a fool as to give the tot to his labourer to make him drunk and incapable of work?
1952‘Mr Drum’ inDrum June 7Farmers say that the tot makes workers work better, and that they can’t do without it...Many of the men who get the tot were born in ‘tot’ families, and have never known life without tots. Life on the vineyards revolves round the tot.
1952Drum June 8 (caption)Young children work on the vineyards, and often take the tot from an early age.
1952F. Marquard inDrum June 8The whole system should be abolished...The tot is poison to the brain: it deprives people of a clear mind.
tot system in historical contexts, the custom whereby labourers, especially those employed on vineyards (or ‘wine farms’), were paid part of their wages in wine; dop system, see dopnoun sense 3 c; also transferred sense;
1952‘Mr Drum’ inDrum June 8The husband’s tot-sodden existence is shown all too clearly by the grim bareness of the rooms — often with no furniture at all.
[1896tot system: R. WallaceFarming Indust. of Cape Col. 403The pernicious custom of giving a daily allowance of wine, a custom similar to that of supplying beer to the labourer in the South of England.]
1926E. Prov. Herald 12 Feb. 7Liquor Bill Under Fire — Evils of the Tot System.
c1936M. ValbeckHeadlong from Heaven 229The ‘tot’ system, whereby in many parts of the Western Province the farm labourer was kept stimulated with a ration of up to two pints of cheap wine daily.
1952Drum June 7The most surprising thing about the tot system is that it is perfectly legal.
1956A. SampsonDrum 52We published a series of articles by Mr Drum on labour conditions in South Africa. One was about the ‘tot system’ in the vineyards of the Cape, where Coloured workers are paid partly in tots of wine, and live in a haze of semi-drunkenness.
1963M. KavanaghWe Merry Peasants 86Under the prevalent tot system initiated in the wine farming areas of the Western Cape, each working man — including any teen-ager not at school — receives a ration of five-plus condensed milk tins of wine every day.
1972Argus 10 Aug. 3The Coloured Representative Council has called for the abolition of the tot system on farms.
1973Argus 14 Apr. 13Most farmers who still apply the tot system argue they will lose their labour if they stop it...Some of the side effects of the tot system are alcoholism of epidemic proportions, a high assault rate, and an abysmally low standard of living.
1974Sunday Times 24 Feb. 14Asked whether he made use of the tot system, Mr de J— said: ‘I’ll be quite frank. I give them a little wine in the morning and two bottles each during the day because I like to keep them happy.’
1981V.A. FebruaryMind your Colour 201The ‘tot system’ is one whereby ‘coloured’ farm-hands are rewarded right through the day with tots of wine or brandy presumably to keep up productivity. It also keeps the poor worker in a constant state of inebriation and makes him a willing partner to his own degradation.
1987South 27 July 1Workers at a toy factory in Philippi are on the tot system...The workers are recruited from farms in the surrounding area where the outlawed tot system is still a common practice.
1990‘T. Equinus’ inWeekly Mail 2 Nov. 54He says he will pay us according to the Tot System — half a dozen crates of Fosters for the weekend and a free stomach pump every fortnight.
1952‘Mr Drum’ inDrum June 8At work they are apathetic and half-dazed, watching the farmhouse and slackening off when it gets near tot-time.
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