Ethnicity in Zimbabwe

Ethnicity in Zimbabwe

Transformations in Kalanga and Ndebele Societies, 1860-1990

Enocent Msindo


University of Rochester Press



A comparative study of identity shifts in two large ethnic groups in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe.
Ethnicity in Zimbabwe: Transformations in Kalanga and Ndebele Societies, 1860-1990 is a comparative study of identity shifts in two large ethnic groups in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. The study begins in 1860, a year after the establishment of the Inyati mission station in the Ndebele Kingdom, and ends in the postcolonial period. Author Enocent Msindo asserts that-despite what many social historians have argued-the creation of ethnic identity in Matabeleland was not solely the result of colonial rule and the new colonial African elites, but that African ethnic consciousness existed prior to this time, formed and shaped by ordinary members of these ethnic groups. During this period, the interaction of the Kalanga and Ndebele fed the development of complex ethnic, regional, cultural, and subnationalist identities. By examining the complexities of identities in this region, Msindo uncovers hidden, alternative, and unofficial histories; contested claims to land and civic authority; the politics of language; the struggles of communities defined as underdogs; and the different ways by which the dominant Ndebele have dealt with their regional others, the Kalanga. The book ultimately demonstrates the ways in which debates around ethnicity and other identities in Zimbabwe-and in Matabeleland in particular-relate to wider issues in both rural and urban Zimbabwe past and present.

Enocent Msindo is Senior Lecturer in History at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.

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September 2012
8 black and white illustrations
320 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580464185
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC SOC008000, SOC056000, HIS001040
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Table of Contents

Ethnicity and Identities in Matabeleland
Domination and Resistance: Precolonial Ndebele andKalanga Relations, 1860-93
Remaking Communities on the Margins: Chieftaincy andEthnicity in Bulilima-Mangwe, 1893 to the 1950s
Ultraroyalism, King's Cattle, and Postconquest Politics among theNdebele, 1893 to the 1940s
Language and Ethnicity in Matabeleland
Contests and Identities in Town: Bulawayo before 1960
Complementary or Competing? Ethnicity and Nationalism inMatabeleland, 1950-79
Postcolonial Terror: Politics, Violence, and Identity, 1980-90
Selected Bibliography


In the same way that Msindo demonstrates the endurance of certain identities and their coexistence with new ones, Ethnicity in Zimbabwe observes and fulfills longstanding themes in Zimbabwe's historiography, while successfully highlighting new areas of research deserving of attention. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Ethnicity in Zimbabwe makes valuable contributions to Zimbabwean social and political history. Scrupulously researched, drawing from pre-colonial primary sources and oral histories, it reveals how common Africans--not just colonialist Europeans or opportunist African elites--played a key role in the creation of Ndebele and Kalanga identity. --Timothy Stapleton, professor of history, Trent University

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