Colonialism and Violence in Zimbabwe

February 2013
16 black and white, 4 line illustrations
303 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781847010513
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC HIS001000, POL053000, SOC056000

Colonialism and Violence in Zimbabwe

A History of Suffering

Heike I. Schmidt

A highly original treatment of significant topics in African Studies and beyond: violence, colonialism, landscape, memory and religion.
Suffering, the experience of violation brought on by an act of violence or violent circumstances, is omnipresent in today's world - if only indirectly through global media representation. Despite this apparent immediacy, understanding how a person makes sense of his or her suffering tends to be fragmentary and often elusive. This book examines this key question through the lens of rural Zimbabwe and a frontier area on the border with Mozambique. It shows how African women, men, and children fashioned their life-worlds in the face of conflict.

Historian Heike Schmidt challenges the apparently inseparable twin pairing of Africa and suffering. Even in situations of great distress, she argues, individuals and groups may articulate their social desires and political ambitions, and reforge their identities - as long as the experience of violence is not one of sheer terror. She emphasizes the crucial role women, chiefs, and youths played in the renegotiation of a sense of belonging during different periods of time. Based on sustained fieldwork, Colonialism and Violence offers a compelling history of suffering in a small valley in Zimbabwe over the course of 150 years.

Heike Schmidt is Lecturer in Modern History, University of Reading.

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Table of Contents

Living on the Frontier: Opportunity and Danger
Imagining Foreign Lands: Landscapes of Violence
The Frontier Society Under Threat: Politicization and Militancy
War Rages Hot: Insurgency and Counter-insurgency
After Violence: Healing the Wounds of War
Epilogue: Violence That Does Not Haunt


An admirable collection of accounts of the history of conflict and suffering that have been an almost constant feature of life for the Valley's inhabitants as long as anyone can remember. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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