This has been quite a year for Zimbabwe. No-one would have guessed in January that by the end of the year there would have been a (not) coup, and a new president. The ongoing succession drama appeared to be endless, and unresolved, combined with the seemingly terminal decline of the economy. Let’s see if a corner is turned with the new government, and what 2018 brings in terms of economic recovery and election outcomes.
Land and agriculture are core issues for the Zimbabwe debate. Yet still the old myths about land reform continue to be repeated. With the revived global interest in Zimbabwe in recent weeks, it has been interesting (and depressing) how often the same old narratives are trotted out in the mainstream international media. That said, there has been also some excellent, thoughtful commentary elsewhere. I have added a postscript to my 21 November blog on the (not) coup with some of my favourite pieces.
As everyone navigates an uncertain political context with new policy possibilities in a (maybe) post-sanctions era with full re-engagement with the international community, others are looking for evidence to inform commentary and policy, and it’s good that the Zimbabweland blogs have become a useful source for journalists, donors, diplomats, government officials, civil society groups and others.
This year there have been more visitors than ever to Zimbabweland, from many, many countries, although concentrated in Zimbabwe, South Africa, the UK and the US. You have looked extensively at the now 300-odd past blogs, as well as new ones posted most Mondays. Once again the popular ones are overviews on land and agriculture policy issues, as well as the now quite old series on ‘new agricultural entrepreneurs’.
The top 20 (in terms of number of views) of those published this year are listed below. There were a number of blog series during the year, including one on youth, another on medium-scale farms and one on various dimensions of land administration, linked to the agenda for the Zimbabwe Land Commission. Blogs from all these series appear in the top 20.
Political events of the year have also attracted views, from the inauguration of Donald Trump at the beginning of the year to President Mnangagwa’s ascent to power at the end.
A particularly sad event for me, and many others too, was the passing of B.Z. Mavedzenge, who was so central to the research reported on this blog over so many years. An obituary, also carried in a number of national newspapers, appears in the list below.
Beyond this top 20 – of course rather arbitrary given that some are very recent and some were published months ago – there are plenty more to view on the site. So for 2018, do sign up for your email update, and look out on Twitter for alerts. Or just browse across the now extensive material since 2011.
Also, look out too for a new low-cost book early in 2018, which will compile blogs across a range of themes, carrying on from the 2013 compilation, Debating Zimbabwe’s Land Reform.
There is little doubt that 2018 will be another eventful year for land and agriculture issues in Zimbabwe. And many of the themes in the blogs in this year’s festive top 20 will recur.
- View Tobacco and contract farming in Zimbabwe
- View Women and land: challenges of empowerment
- View “No condition is permanent”: small-scale commercial farming in Zimbabwe
- View BZ Mavedzenge: the loss of a true public servant
- View What is the future for medium-sized commercial farms in Zimbabwe?
- View Land and agriculture in Zimbabwe following land reform
- View “The path to prosperity starts with land reform”, says the Economist
- View The future of medium-scale commercial farms in Africa: lessons from Zimbabwe
- View What will the inauguration of President Trump bring to Africa?
- View Zimbabwe’s diamond theft: power and patronage in Marange
- View A very Zimbabwean (not) coup
- View Why governance constraints are holding back young people in rural Zimbabwe
- View Young people and agriculture: implications for post-land reform Zimbabwe
- View Medium-scale farming for Africans: The ‘Native Purchase Areas’ in Zimbabwe
- View Roads, belts and corridors: what is happening along Africa’s eastern seaboard?
- View Command agriculture and the politics of subsidies
- View How persistent myths distort policy debate on land in Zimbabwe
- View A new land administration system for Zimbabwe
- View Getting agriculture moving: finance and credit
- View Underutilised land in Zimbabwe: not a new problem