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What should be on a new Zim dollar note? Two nominations

There have been repeated rumours about the return of the Zimbabwe dollar, even ones that they were being printed. There was no hint in the recent budget, and for the time being Zimbabwe’s economy is tied to the US dollar exchange rate, and it is the greenback (sometimes rather brown and dirty) that circulates through the economy.

But some time, when the time is right, a separate currency may be desirable, allowing more flexibility in monetary policy, and help ease the near permanent liquidity crisis. When that happens there will have to be a redesign of the notes. What should be on them? Of course there will be all sorts of ‘national heroes’ and famous places in contention, but what are the real symbols of the Zimbabwean economy today?

I want to nominate two candidates, both of which I believe should be recognised on a redesigned currency. The first is the one tonne truck. Most likely Chinese built, nearly always white, and full of people and produce, trailing the roads of Zimbabwe. I don’t know if anyone keeps statistics of how many are manufactured and imported, but it must be a lot.

In the new resettlement areas where we work, they are ubiquitous. They have revolutionised the way farming as a business is done. Marketing is now possible in much more flexible ways. Supply of inputs doesn’t have to rely on a NGO or a government delivery. Instead, private entrepreneurs, many of whom are farmers, hire out their trucks, or share deliveries with friends and neighbours. I thought there were lots of them in Masvingo, but it wasn’t until l I visited Mazowe district at the end of last year that I realised how many had been purchased on the back of the tobacco boom. So, nomination 1: the Chinese (sometimes Japanese) one tonne truck.

The second nomination is the small horsepower water pump, again very often Chinese made. They have become incredibly cheap in the last few years. US$200 or so will get you a pump that can deliver a steady flow of water to a garden from a well or river bed. They are not the most fancy, nor the hardiest of pumps, but they are cheap. A small profit on a garden enterprise can mean you can buy a new one – or a replacement if they break down. Again, no need to wait for an aid agency to come with a ‘project’ and corral you into a gardening group; instead you can just go to Harare or Bulawayo – or more likely Musina – and buy one (or even two) and do it yourself. No project, no group, no waiting for the NGO. As we have found out in our studies of small scale horticulture in the resettlement areas near Masvingo they too have revolutionised production possibilities, through irrigation, for even the poor, small-scale farmer.

These two pieces of kit, now standard issue for any aspiring farmer, along with the indestructible Nokia classic mobile phone (not on the nomination list as a bit passé now), are definitely my top nominations. They equal the contribution of any national hero in my view, and without government or donor support, they allow farms to be productive, output to be marketed, people to become that bit richer, kids to be sent to school, investment to happen. And none of this would have happened without them.

What are your nominations? Please add to the comments, and I will happily forward to the minister of finance, Mr Chinamasa.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and originally appeared on Zimbabweland


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There are so many books on Zimbabwe coming out I cannot keep up. On the back of Freeth, Godwin, Barclay and others each mentioned previously in this blog, another appeared this month titled very dramatically:  ‘Catastrophe: What Went Wrong in Zimbabwe?’ by Richard Bourne, a former journalist now a research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

Unlike some other books I have commented on, this one is actually (mostly) rather good. It’s an unfortunate title in many ways, as it plays into the disaster narrative associated with Zimbabwe, but it does offer a very insightful historical account of how today’s context is conditioned by past events. It switches focus from the ‘evil’ character of Mugabe to the cumulative historical process, with many different players. It is, as other highly knowledgeable and respected reviewers have said, in many ways very ‘judicious’ and ‘balanced’ (Stephen Chan), as well as ‘perceptive’ and ‘fair’ (Richard Dowden). It also offers some hope that reconstruction and reconciliation will occur, and despite the title has a more positive message.

But it is also annoyingly inaccurate on some important issues around land reform which affect my overall judgement.  As I have argued before in this blog – accurate figures really do matter. Bourne spins the standard argument about cronyism in the recent land reform. As we have said in the book, and elsewhere, this is part of the story, but yet again this book makes the mistake of claiming it is the only story. So for example, he argues that “Some 40 per cent of the best land had gone to this elite [he mentions politburo members, MPs, senators and senior military figures] in large holdings, while between 150000 and 300000 ZANU supporters, whom the reform was supposed to benefit, got between 10 and 50 hectares” (p.215). He footnotes as his source the infamous ZimOnline report which I highlighted as grossly inaccurate in an earlier blog post.

Even the presentation of the data in this sentence shows the problem. With around 7m hectares distributed as part of the ‘fast track’ programme, his top estimate for the smallholder allocation is 15m ha which would allow now room for the elite cronies! And who says that all new farmers are ZANU-PF supporters? Many are, but the electoral figures suggest there is a more complex story. What is surprising is that on such a critical issue, Bourne was not more careful. He makes an oblique reference to our book in a footnote (p. 167), but does not engage with either the data or the arguments. Data on land allocation has been widely available (from the Utete report to the various World Bank studies), and is now published in the wider literature (see for example Sam Moyo recently in the Journal of Peasant Studies). Minor inaccuracies in a big sweep, popular journalistic book are fine, but not on land in Zimbabwe!

And this colours the conclusions. On page 260 he outlines the usual litany of disasters that have arisen due to land reform – the collapse in food production, exports, input industries, insurance, credit and so on; all the result of the failure to recognise the legal basis of private property. Some of these impacts of course are very real, as we have documented, but the positive consequences of the dismantling of a narrowly based agricultural economy, and the opening up of the potential for new producers and new markets doesn’t get a look in. This is not a balanced appraisal and it undermines the overall argument, one which suggests rather naively that if Mugabe had been committed to a ‘one farm for one farmer’ policy, “he could have broken up the large white-owned estates at a stroke” (p.260).

Unfortunately, in this book, as so often in recent commentary on Zimbabwe, the sophistication and nuance that earlier historical periods are treated with is not matched in the discussion of the contemporary era. Somehow the polarisation that characterises commentary on Zimbabwe is just too difficult to overcome. This was illustrated in extreme form around the response to Mahmoud Mamdani’s intervention in the London Review of Books, when a deluge of responses from ‘concerned Africa scholars’ attacked his (admittedly problematic) attempts to bridge the divide. This book however does not fall into this trap completely, and is as a result a useful and sophisticated contribution, well worth the read.

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Book reviews

Reviews of the book, Zimbabwe’s Land Reform, are now piling up – Henry Bernstein in the Journal of Agrarian Change (coming soon), Lionel Cliffe in the Review of African Political Economy, Busani Mpofu in African Affairs, Kirk Helliker in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, along with quite a few others. Check these out on the website


A consistent feature of these is the recognition of the importance of detailed empirical work to overcome the polarisation that has characterised the ‘debate’ on Zimbabwe’s land reform. There are critiques too. We are accused of not dealing with the wider political context, of being naïve perhaps of what is possible, and of course there are the usual qualifications (which we make ourselves of course) about this being only about one province.


In an interview, I respond to some of these critiques, and a wider assessment of the broader politics of a new agrarian dynamic of ‘accumulation from below’, and associated rural differentiation and class formation, is certainly due (and hopefully will appear in some articles soon).


But overall we are pleased with the positive reception by serious academics and commentators.  In most people’s views the book is not politics ‘dressed up as research’, as Dale Dore suggested in a Kubatana post, but actually a solid empirical contribution to a complex debate, urgently in need of nuancing.

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Voices from the field

Here is the IDS web post launching a series of new videos on our work. They are really excellent, and capture some of the excitement and enthusiasm among the farmers in our study areas. Thanks to Pamela Ngwenya for leading the effort. And field researcher, BZ Mavedzenge makes a great narrator too! We will be launching these in Zimbabwe in the next few weeks, including in the study sites. I will report back on how this goes, and no doubt the huge debate that will result!




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A white farmer, Robert Mugabe and some Archbishops

Ben Freeth, together with his late father-in-law Mike Campbell, has been one of the highest profile campaigners against Zimbabwe’s land reforms. He has taken his case to a regional court, raised the plight of the white farming community in the international press and suffered extraordinary violence and abuse as a consequence.

He has now also written a book: Mugabe and the White African. It follows on from a film of the same name, and has been endorsed in forewords by two archbishops – Desmond Tutu (Archbishop Emeritus) and John Sentamu (Archbishop of York). On the front cover it is described as “utterly compelling” by the BBC Today Programme foreign affairs correspondent, Mike Thompson. And in many ways it is.  It is an extraordinary and at times shocking account. But it is also very ill-informed, on multiple accounts. As Miles Tendi has already commented in respect of the film, the absence of history and any reflection on the inequities in land and wealth created by colonialism is striking. And in terms of detail, inaccuracies abound. But it is the perceptions that come over again and again that are most extraordinary, and in some ways give a clear but disturbing insight into some of the extreme, delusional positions taken by some members of the white farming community.

These are of course positions that ultimately meant that a sensible compromise on land reform was not brokered in the three decades from independence. A combination of arrogance, isolation, misunderstanding and a highly racialised vision comes through in these pages again and again. Here is Freeth on the old (pre-2000) resettlements: “I knew what resettlement meant. I had visited resettlement areas as part of my job. Even on prime farms with dams and irrigation, resettlement was invariably a disaster, and the resettled farms ended up becoming places of subsistence, supporting significantly fewer people than they had done before” (p. 42).  Riddled with inaccuracies and coloured by deeply held cultural misperceptions, he reveals again and again, why in many respects the post-Independence ‘reconciliation’ on land did not happen.

In some respects, we have become accustomed to these sort of rants. But the additional ingredient in this book is strident evangelical religion.  This is where the book becomes just plain weird (especially to non-believers, but I suspect many church goers too – although apparently not two high-profile archbishops and a well-known BBC correspondent). He talks of a “continual tussle between the spiritual forces of good and evil” (p. 88), with the ‘good’ being the upholders of individual property rights and the ‘evil’ being “witch doctors, spirit mediums, spells”. It could have been written by a nineteenth century missionary, although I suspect many such people had a better understanding of the people they lived among. There are pages and pages of this sort of thing, rising to a crescendo towards the end. Here is one such passage where he explains why “Africa is in such a mess today”: “A covenant with death has been formed. The result of entering into a covenant with death is that everything that you touch simply dies.  One of the clearest illustrations of this is in agriculture. The war veterans who have invaded our farms always claimed that our land was far better than theirs. Their crops however look pitiable…” (p.92). Describing the new resettlements he says “I find them full of dark despondency and despair” (p. 128). As in David Hughes’  superb analysis, a particular (white) landscape aesthetic is wrapped up in his critique of land reform: “Areas that had been beautiful, lush bush the last time I’d seen them were now just forests of stumps – angular ugly things to people who love trees (p. 128-9).

The racy, sensationalist style of the book belies deep misunderstanding sand strong cultural biases which have fuelled the polarisation that Zimbabwe still confronts. Freeth was once employed by the Commercial Farmers Union but fell out with the hierarchy due to his belligerent stand and formed  Justice for Agriculture, formalising the split in the commercial farming community, so excellently documented by Angus Selby. Now gaining an insight into Freeth’s extreme and sometimes bizarre views this split was perhaps inevitable, but it did of course help to undermine the prospects for a more negotiated settlement on land at a sensitive time.

With the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, arriving in Harare soon to discuss with Robert Mugabe the breakaway Church of England group and the expropriation of church property and congregations, I wonder if the alliance Freeth seems to have struck with the some other archbishops will help in these sensitive negotiations!


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Fact Check

I know I keep going on about the importance of getting the facts right, but in the febrile context that is Zimbabwe it is important. A report from CFU caught press attention recently – including the BBC. It claimed that “Robert Mugabe’s land seizures ‘cost $12bn’”. But let’s drill down into the details of these claims a bit. In his presentation to the CFU congress Deon Theron, out-going CFU president, claimed that the value of agricultural production from the ‘agricultural industry’ had declined by 70% from 2000 to 2008- from $3.5bn to $1bn. Of course there have been declines – in some commodities more than others, as shown in our book, as well as other reports. But it is important to dissect these figures. He is referring to formal marketing from the large-scale agricultural sector (referred to as the agricultural industry). This takes no account of the value of production from the smallholder sector, and in particular that marketed informally, or used for own consumption. The problem is that much of this is not measured, and so never finds its way into the headline statistics. But there is a substantial value being generated through these routes – through new value chains, new markets, and with new producers and market intermediaries. This has not replaced the value formerly produced through the large-scale sector, but it is significant. Indeed even production of commodities through formal markets has been growing, with cotton and tobacco booming. From an admittedly low base, the agricultural sector is estimated to grow at 19.3% per annum, according to Finance Minister, Tenda Biti. And the CFU statistics of course conveniently ignore this rebound since the stabilisation of the economy from 2009. Of course the loss of tax revenue, and the knock-on effects on the input supply and marketing industries have been significant due to the ‘informalisation’ of the agricultural economy. But quite where the headline figure of $12bn loss of agricultural production, mentioned at the end of his speech and picked up in the BBC piece (with judicious inverted commas) comes from is anyone’s guess. Theron’s actual estimate of the costs of land reform is in fact $33bn – adding in $2.8bn in international food aid and $10bn (rather hopefully) in compensation claims! I guess inevitably statistics are presented to make a political point. And in Theron’s presentation the point is very clear. But journalists who pick up these figures really do need to be a bit more circumspect. Fact checking is important.


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Whiteness in Zimbabwe – a new book

Here is a review of an excellent book which I did for the Journal of Agrarian Change. The contrast with other recent offerings by Peter Godwin, Philip Barclay, Ben Freeth and others is very clear….

Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape and the Problem of Belonging by David McDermott Hughes. Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke, 2010. Pp. xx+224. £19.99 (pb), £55.00 (hb). ISBN 978-0-230-62142-8.

 The images of whiteness in Zimbabwe projected in the media are ones of the white population as victims, struggling against the terrors of the Mugabe regime, dispossessed of their land and exposed to violence at the hands of politically organized thugs. The valiant ‘white Africans’, as powerfully portrayed in the film of the now late Mike Campbell and his son-in-law Ben Freeth of Mount Carmel farm, are seen as an endangered species protecting all that was good in Zimbabwe against the depredations of the present[1]. Too often, and most outrageously in this film, the story is told without a sense of the histories of exploitation and violence of the colonial past. In the romanticized visions of white rural lifestyles offered by the growing genre of biographical reflections on the Rhodesian idyll, whites are portrayed as guardians of the landscape, conservers of nature and skilled producers from the soil, creating a ‘breadbasket’ in a barren and backward land. They are in turn seen as the backbone of the former commercial farm economy and the protectors of their servants and workers against all that is bad.

 David McDermott Hughes’ important book is a vital counter to these often absurd mythical constructions of white Africa. It is informed and sensitive. It does not deny the injustices done, but it sets these in an historically informed critique. It tries to get beneath the white skin to see where interpretations and perspectives of land and landscape come from. It is refreshingly honest and deeply informed, and so represents such an important contribution at this moment in Zimbabwe’s history, given the way most commentaries are presented.

 On my way to Harare recently, I picked up two books in Johannesburg airport. One was Peter Godwin’s ‘The Fear’, widely acclaimed as a vivid account of the atrocities associated with the 2008 elections. The other was ‘Zimbabwe: Years of Hope and Despair’, by Philip Barclay, a former political attaché with the British Embassy in Harare. I thought both would inform me of the Zimbabwe situation, and offer some useful insights. Both are written from the standpoint of white participants – one by a Zimbabwean by birth and a well known journalist and commentator on the country writing in the international media; the other by an expatriate official of the former colonial power. While both are engagingly written, and offer important, often shocking, detail of the events of the recent past, both in their own ways expose an unreflective positioned perspective on the stories they told. The whiteness of their authorial voices is painfully present.

 In a review of Godwin’s book in the South African Mail and Guardian, Percy Zvomuya, summed it up well when he notes “it’s difficult not to notice neo-Rhodesian prejudice, its attendant self-righteous angst and a barely disguised nostalgia for the old world”.[2]. Barclay’s book showed an even more alarming lack of awareness of context and politics, especially given his position. It perhaps reflects the isolated expatriate lifestyle of drinks parties, golf and trips to Nyanga enjoyed by so many of the donors and diplomatic officials overseeing aid and foreign relations with Zimbabwe. A particularly revealing episode was recounted in Barclay’s book where a group of expatriate officials dressed up as colonials and went to a new year’s eve party, ‘larking about in costume’ (p.4) as the (black) staff looked on.  The extreme lack of reflexivity – on history, on social position, on race – is so evident in much commentary of this sort. Of course the abuses meted out on the white farming community and their workers (often in the background) in the last decade have sometimes been truly appalling, but I have long thought that a more nuanced analysis was required to get to the heart of this, and offer a deeper understanding than these simplistic, popular accounts.

I was so glad therefore that I also had Hughes’ short book in my luggage. While not stacked high on the airport bookshop shelves and presented in a rather dull cover at a somewhat higher price, this was infinitely more nuanced and informed than the books I had bought, despite its main text being just a short 143 pages. It is of course a different type of book, more aimed at an academic audience, and an attempt to link to a wider debate about racial constructions of landscape in other “neo-Europes”, notably North America. This dimension I found least convincing. The often bizarre particularities make the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe case, are peculiar in important senses, and so actually rather difficult to relate to that wider literature on race, identity and landscape imaginaries. The book though serves its purpose well as a focused commentary on Zimbabwean whiteness, and so fills a gaping hole in the literature, only made wider and more dangerous by the offerings of Godwin, Barclay and others.

 The book is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the Zambezi and the imaginaries constructed around the river and the Kariba dam. The second focuses on the farms, and particularly the area of Virginia near Marondera, east of the capital Harare. Both show careful field research, and sympathetic reporting of complex topics. The characters come across as believable and human, even if sometimes confused and flawed. In the early 2000s, this was not easy fieldwork to do. People’s livelihoods and sense of belonging was under threat. The confrontations over land upset long held assumptions about superiority and rights. The social relations on the commercial farms were disturbed. Once defined, in Blair Rutherford’s (2003) terms, as a form of ‘domestic government’, where workers were reliant on the paternalism of the farmer and his family, were now being reshaped. Whiteness and blackness had to interact on new terms. This was, as the book clearly shows, very uncomfortable for many. Hughes recounts that at this moment, informants admitted to “becoming racist” for the first time. He argues that before this, through bonding with nature, “many neither feared nor loved blacks but simply tried not to think about them”. They, in other words, “discounted the Other” (p. xv). That this is not described as evidence of a deep racism at the heart of white identity in Zimbabwe is to my mind semantic gymnastics. Race – whiteness – defined everything: culture, identity, landscape, livelihoods and, on a day-to-day basis, nearly all social interactions. A confrontation with this assumed social equilibrium through the land reform brought out a sharper identification of racial divides, but this was built on a sense of antipathy, indifference and separation, if not outright hostile animosity towards black neighbours, workers, business people, government officials and politicians.

 Hughes argues that the land invasions were the tipping point. For some this resulted in them signing up to the new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. One of the stalwarts of the white farming community and an outspoken activist for the MDC, Roy Bennett, encouraged many to join in a more political struggle. The unspoken post-independence deal between Mugabe and the whites was broken – you don’t mess with politics, but you can continue your lifestyle and keep your land (p.131). As demonstrated in the book, many joined the opposition out of a deep commitment to democracy and development. Some paid a high price, and one in particular, Dave Stevens, was murdered for his political affiliations in 2000. But again the political naivety often shown was clearly highlighted. The fragile consensus that built the stability of the post-independence period that white farmers in places like Virginia profited from was shattered. This was going to happen at some point of course, but the apparent surprise and associated outrage expressed by informants in the book shows an extraordinary lack of understanding of the political context in which whiteness was being constructed in the period from 1980.

 Part 1 of the book explores the white fantasies associated with the Zambezi. It offers a fascinating account both of the construction of modernity and (white) engineering triumphing over nature – epitomized by the heroic construction of the Kariba dam (of course mostly with black labour) – and the construction of ‘wilderness’ on the man-made Lake Kariba, as a place of escape, recreation and sport. This is a highly gendered landscape (a theme not really pursued in the book, as most informants appeared to be men), where sports fishing and engineering feats were very much masculine achievements of brave whites. Aesthetic beauty, conjuring up water in a dry land, and the taming of wild Africa through human intervention was combined in the image of Kariba, and so became a symbolic site for the construction of whiteness in Zimbabwe from the 1950s.

 A striking theme of the whole book is that Zimbabwean whiteness was developed in relation to landscapes not people – in relation to the biophysical not the social – but the physical landscape becomes socialized and constructed through its social engagements with whiteness. This is shown in particular in both the way Lake Kariba was colonized as a playground of the white elite, and the way dams, and hydrological landscapes more generally, were constructed on the farms. A particular aesthetic is imposed on the African bush, tamed in ways that appeal to Euro-centric sensitivities, but in a very characteristic form. People’s homes, their compounds, the gardens, as well as their recreation areas were all created in this way, and so these constructed – and imagined – landscapes became, as the book so effectively shows, intimately bound up with white identity and culture, reflected in literature, paintings, photographs and wider political narratives about nature conservation and land guardianship: “Whiteness and conservation, in other words, co-produced each other” (xiii). The result was conflicting visions of nature and society in the Highveld, just as Will Wolmer has so effectively shown for the lowveld (Wolmer 2007).

 Part 2 concentrates on a set of farms in the Virginia area and focuses on the post-independence period, and particularly the moment when the main fieldwork was done around 2002-03. A fascinating discussion of dam building is offered, a practice that rose to a peak in the 1990s, as a defensive strategy to avoid expropriation and ensure compensation for ‘improvements’. While having a political-economic rationale, the frenzy of dam building also reflected the cultural aesthetic of developing a well-watered landscape. With the shoreline in Virginia expanding 400 per cent in a decade, this meant many more fishing grounds for the white (male) farming community. They made a “hydrology of hope, blind to the gathering dangers of African politics” (xiv).  Many lost their farms to land invasions, both by groups of locals, including their own farm workers, but also by elites eager to grab the well developed land. By 2005, only 11 of the 75 farm families recorded in 2002 were still on the land. Those who remained had developed new compromises with the social and political world around them which previously had been kept at bay. Forms of patronage, deals, partnerships and social arrangements with politicians, new black farmers, workers and others were necessary. Whites had to come to terms with their minority status, and their lack of guaranteed privilege. For some in the former farming community this was ‘selling out’, a betrayal of identity and principle. For others, this was a painful realization of reality, one that had not dawned in the 30 years since Independence until the land was invaded. Today, as Hughes vividly describes, they have to talk to blacks, engage with the social world around them – and as a result spend less time fishing and constructing a parochial white conservation ethic. This brings with it much anxiety, stress and fear, as the testimonies in the book show, but also a long awaited possibility of integration – “a more candid form of pluralism” (p. xv); a vernacular solution to agrarian cooperation (p.128)  which might be more completely realized if only the political conditions allow it to flourish.

 Most casual observers of Zimbabwe – and indeed many who profess to comment with authority – sadly do not appear to have the benefit of such insights, drawn from in-depth ethnographic analysis. Godwin and Barclay for example, given their positionalities, cannot or will not offer a more reflective account. The appalling coverage in the international media of the last decade of Zimbabwe’s history, and the panoply of myths repeated about land reform, for example – so often based on assumption, conjecture and simple fabrication – are starkly evident in the ill-informed public and policy discourse, reinforced by the media. Our book on Zimbabwe’s land reform (Scoones et al 2010) has provoked much helpful debate, but it has also elicited some extraordinary tirades from the former white farming community. Some of these are simply abusive and not repeatable in a review for a reputable journal, but other offerings reflect clearly some of the insights that McDermott Hughes so effectively expounds in this book. I now can interpret these letters and emails more effectively, and respond more sensitively. For they often echo the sense loss – of belonging, identity and entitlement – that has been so rudely wrenched from them through land reform. They talk of how for generations they looked after the land, and protected it from degradation. They fear for their farms under new ownership and tell stories of how it has been wrecked, the production destroyed and the aesthetic ruined. The emotions of dislocation and dispossession are very real. Yet the almost complete lack of reflection on colonial history, social privilege and the political economy of land and livelihoods is also deeply apparent. Making sense of this transition, both the challenges and the possibilities of ‘belonging awkwardly (chapter 6), is important for all those committed to the future of Zimbabwe, black and white. This book will be very important in this on-going and difficult conversation.  


 Barclay, P., 2010. Zimbabwe. Years of Hope and Despair. Bloomsbury: London.

 Godwin, P., 2010. The Fear. The Last Days of Robert Mugabe. Picador: London.

 Rutherford, B., 2003. ‘Belonging to the Farm(er): Farm Workers, Farmers, and the Shifting Politics of Citizenship’. In A. Hammar, B. Raftopoulos and S. Jensen (eds) Zimbabwe’s Unfinished Business: Rethinking Land, State and Nation in the Context of Crisis. Weaver Press: Harare.

Scoones, I., N. Marongwe, B. Mavedzenge, J. Mahenehene, F. Murimbarimba, and C. Sukume, 2010. Zimbabwe’s Land Reform. Myths and Realities. Woodbridge: James Currey.

Wolmer, W., 2007. From Wilderness Vision to Farm Invasions: Conservation and Development in Zimbabwe’s South-east Lowveld. James Currey: Oxford.

 [1] http://www.mugabeandthewhiteafrican.com/, and the forthcoming book of the same title by Ben Freeth, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu. But see the critical commentary from Blessing Miles Tendi http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/05/mugabe-white-african-zimbabwe



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Who is reading the book in Zimbabwe?

Miles Tendi  is the author of the excellent book, Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media. He was also going to speak at the launch event for Zimbabwe’s Land Reform in London, but was unfortunately not able to make it. The comments he was going to make were put together as a blog for African Arguments. They make interesting reading, illustrating how land issues remain a hot topic amongst intellectuals in the political-military elite, but also that the opposition and civil society have found it difficult to engage, and develop an alternative narrative on land divorced from the violent, nationalist rhetoric of ZANU-PF.


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Observations from Harare about a book on land


Here is an interesting set of reflections from Miles Tendi – about who is reading the book, and who is not:


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Royal Africa Society launch

Magnus Taylor blogged on the launch of the book in London:


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