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Über dieses Buch

This book offers the first detailed scholarly examination of the nation-wide land occupations which spread across the Zimbabwean countryside from the year 2000, and led to the state’s fast track land reform programme. In an innovative way, it highlights the decentralized character of the occupations by recognizing significant spatial variation around a number of key themes, including historical memory, modes of mobilization and gender. A case study of the land occupations in Mashonaland Central Province, based on original research, adds empirical weight to the argument. In further identifying and understanding the specificities and complexities of the land occupations, the book also frames them by way of a nuanced comparative-historical analysis of the three zvimurenga. It thus examines the land occupations (referred to, likely controversially, as the ‘third chimurenga’) with reference to the original anti-colonial revolt from the 1890s (the first chimurenga) and the war of liberation in the 1970s (the second chimurenga). Further, the book engages critically with the ruling party’s chimurenga narrative and the hegemonic understanding of the land occupations within Zimbabwean studies.

This book is a crucial read for all scholars and students of post-2000 land and politics in Zimbabwe, but also for those more broadly interested in historical-comparative analyses of land struggles in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Zvimurenga Reflections

Abstract
To label the initial anti-colonial revolt (from the 1890s), the war of liberation during the 1970s and the fast track land occupations as zvimurenga is not without controversy. To portray them as such, without raising any objections, would be to accept the ruling party’s rendition of the history of anti-colonial struggle, with this struggle—according to the party—being reactivated dramatically during the fast track occupations. The existence of white-owned agricultural landholdings twenty years into independence signified the ongoing presence of the colonial condition in Zimbabwe, and fast track restructuring undercut this agrarian condition in certain ways. However, recognising this does not entail an acceptance of politicised history-telling as articulated by the ruling party. Simultaneously, no clear analytical understanding of the occupations has been forthcoming in the Zimbabwean literature. This arises because scholarly analysis is ruled out from the start by the a priori conclusion that the occupations were initiated and organised by the ruling party. This chapter unpacks and analyses critically the ruling party’s chimurenga discourse about the fast track land occupations, as well as the inadequate explanations of the land occupations offered in the scholarly literature.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

2. The First Chimurenga

Abstract
This chapter discusses the first major anti-colonial revolt in colonial Zimbabwe (in 1896 and 1897), which began to be labelled retrospectively as the first chimurenga from the late 1950s as a nationalist movement arose, leading a decade later to the guerrilla-based war of liberation or second chimurenga in the 1970s. It considers the overall character and trajectory of the first chimurenga, in particular its modalities of organisation and mobilisation, as the book seeks to draw parallels between the first anti-colonial revolt and the second and, notably, the third chimurenga. In addition to understanding the general dynamics of the first chimurenga, the chapter also highlights certain themes, such as gender and spirituality, which are pertinent to our latter analyses of the other zvimurenga. At the same time, it must be highlighted that there are very few full-length analyses of the first chimurenga, and no real insights about local dynamics, which means that any examination of this revolt remains somewhat thin and shallow.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

3. Land Alienation, Land Struggles and the Rise of Nationalism in Rhodesia

Abstract
This chapter acts as a prelude which frames the examination of the second chimurenga in Chapters 4 and 5. In discussing land alienation, land struggles and the rise of nationalism in Rhodesia in the intervening period between the first and second zvimurenga, the chapter brings to the fore the deep grievances around land under colonial subjugation, which resulted in localised resistance and struggles in the Reserves, later Tribal Trust Lands. Grievances and struggles were firmly embedded in the historical memories of rural people as they engaged with guerrilla armies during the second chimurenga. The chapter shows social differentiation within the reserves and the tensions which sometimes arose because of this differentiation. In the case of both the pre-nationalist days and the days of emerging mass nationalism from the mid-1950s, the chapter stresses the ways in which Africans drew upon their localised experiences and grievances when confronting the colonial order, including the agrarian and land reconfiguration of the reserves. As well, the chapter has a specific focus on women, as they struggled not only against a colonial order but also a patriarchal order.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

4. The Second Chimurenga: Early Literature and Nationalists-Guerrillas

Abstract
This is the first of two chapters on the second chimurenga. The purpose of these chapters is to provide an overview of the historical development of the nationalist and guerrilla movements, and to identify key themes in the second chimurenga literature. This chapter examines the early scholarly literature on the second chimurenga and highlights themes embodied in this literature, but also silences and gaps which are addressed in the later literature. It then turns to a consideration of one particular theme, namely the overall character of the nationalist movements and guerrilla armies and, more importantly, the relationship between them. The chapter considers some of the temporal dynamics of the war of liberation during the 1970s, and it captures many of the complexities of the spatial diversity of the second chimurenga across the breadth of the Rhodesian countryside. Ultimately, in considering the second chimurenga, the chapter is concerned primarily with pinpointing and discussing themes which are particularly crucial in developing a comparative analysis of the three zvimurenga and in understanding the specificities of the third chimurenga.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

5. The Second Chimurenga: Guerrillas-Peasants, Spirituality and Patriarchy

Abstract
In the light of the previous chapter, this chapter provides a further analysis of the second chimurenga by identifying and discussing a number of themes. It does so primarily in order to set a comparative basis for analysing the third chimurenga. Crucial in this regard is the relationship between guerrillas and villagers during the second chimurenga, as this speaks to the significance of the relationship between war veterans and occupiers during the fast track occupations (third chimurenga). One the key themes covered in the recent literature is spirituality, with an increasing move away from examining spiritual mediums and other traditional forms of spirituality, to an examination of the relationship between Christian missions, guerrillas and villagers. As well, in the Rhodesian countryside, a number of local patriarchal systems existed, which included chiefs in Native reserves and white farmers on commercial farmers. Whether intentionally or not, the very presence of male guerrillas challenged the authority of these patriarchs. Finally, in the context of patriarchy, the chapter considers the multi-faceted experiences of different groupings of women during the war of liberation.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

6. Post-independence Land Reform, War Veterans and Sporadic Rural Struggles

Abstract
This chapter discusses the intervening period between the second and third zvimurenga by focusing on developments central to the rise of the fast track land occupations in the year 2000. A central consideration for this period is the Zimbabwean state’s failure to shift fundamentally the colonial land and agrarian structure, with the land reform programme failing to de-racialise the countryside in terms of landholdings. Alongside this stalled land reform programme were two further developments which facilitated the emergence of the third chimurenga. On the one hand, large numbers of ex-guerrillas from the war of liberation were marginalised in the post-1980 period and they began to mobilise and organise in a manner which led to the eventual formation of a national war veterans’ association which expressed discontent with the Zimbabwean state and ruling party. On the other hand, because of minimal land reform, as well as ongoing land pressures and livelihood challenges in the communal areas, villagers often in alliance with war veterans increasingly began to occupy land in the 1990s in a deeply localised way. By the late 1990s, the stage was set for another large-scale episode of land struggles.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

7. The Third Chimurenga: Party-State and War Veterans

Abstract
This is the first of three chapters on the third chimurenga. This chapter focuses on the crucial question of the ruling party and state and their supposed involvement in the fast track land occupations (third chimurenga), raising the centrality of war veterans to the occupations. In showing that the ruling party and state were in large part peripheral to the occupations, the following chapter is then able to focus on the complex localised dynamics of the occupations as they unfolded across the Zimbabwean countryside. The chapter discusses the acrimonious debate which emerged soon after the occupations began, a debate about the very form of the third chimurenga occupations. This sets the stage for a detailed scrutiny of war veterans and the party-state vis-à-vis the occupations. The war veterans, even if articulating a nationalist agenda seemingly consistent with the ruling party, were neither acting at the behest of the ruling party nor acting in alliance with it. The chapter ends by indicating briefly the sheer diversity of the occupations nation-wide in order to demonstrate the decentralised character of the occupations, which becomes the central theme for the following chapter.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

8. The Third Chimurenga: Land Occupation Dynamics

Abstract
In developing the argument of the previous chapter, this current chapter demonstrates in diverse ways the manner in which the third chimurenga occupations embodied a decentralised character. This overall claim about the occupations is consistent with a historiography of nationalism and thus goes contrary to the dominant narrative about the third chimurenga. The chapter discusses the diverse memories, motivations and claims of different categories of occupiers which led to their participation in the occupations. It also considers issues around disorder and order during the occupations including the multiple ways in which occupations were organised locally and became crystallised in farm-level authority structures. In seeking to highlight the diversity more convincingly, the chapter examines the occupations in two areas of the countryside, namely, in Masvingo Province and in northern Matabeleland. Though a focus on farm labourers and women vis-à-vis the occupations shows that the fast track occupations were marked by forms of exclusion and subordination, it also evident that the agency of women and farm labourers signals a further need to question any understanding of the third chimurenga occupations rooted in party-state directives and machinations.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

9. Local Fast Track Occupations: The Cases of Bindura and Shamva

Abstract
This chapter examines the third chimurenga occupations in Bindura and Shamva, two districts in Mashonaland Central Province. Consistent with the claims made throughout the book, the chapter seeks to show that the occupations in both districts are not understandable in terms of top-down orchestration by the ruling party and state. In this sense, the chapter contributes to restoring the presence of occupiers, including ordinary men and women, onto the historical stage through a case study of occupations in these two districts. This involves considering the decentralised forms of organisation and mobilisation which existed during these occupations, along with the grievances and motivations which animated the occupiers. Central to the occupations were war veterans. The chapter does not claim that the occupations in Shamva and Bindura were in any way organised at district level, or that there was no inter-district coordination. Further, while parallels exist across the two districts, there were also differences, in particular the more pronounced organisational foundation of the occupations in Shamva.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

10. Post-Third Chimurenga Land Politics and Zvimurenga Analysis

Abstract
Overall, while fast track land reform may have “resolved” certain matters, it also left other matters unattended or even facilitated the emergence of new dilemmas (and new sites of struggle) which continue to be played out, even within post-coup Zimbabwe under the presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa. This chapter makes no attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the post-2000 period in Zimbabwe and the fast track programme more specifically, as there is abundant literature on this. Rather, the chapter points to certain post-2000 issues arising from the analysis of the three zvimurenga and in particular of the third chimurenga. In other words, the chapter uses the zvimurenga examination as a lens through which to speak about post-2000 Zimbabwe. In particular, analytically, the chapter considers the ways in which the third chimurenga occupations were subdued and institutionalised by way of a state-driven restructuring of land and agrarian spaces (namely, through fast track), and the possibilities and existence of further land contestations—specifically in the light of a neoliberal capital-driven process under the presidency of Mnangagwa. It does so with reference to what we label as an autonomist commoning perspective.
Kirk Helliker, Sandra Bhatasara, Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

Backmatter

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