Land, Migration and Belonging

February 2019
3 black and white, 2 line illustrations
197 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Eastern Africa Series
ISBN: 9781847012166
Format: Hardback
James Currey
BISAC HIS001040, SOC039000, SOC007000

Land, Migration and Belonging

A History of the Basotho in Southern Rhodesia c. 1890-1960s

Joseph Mujere

A new history of the Basotho migrants in Zimbabwe that illuminates identity politics, African agency and the complexities of social integration in the colonial period.

Tracing the history of the Basotho, a small mainly Christianised community of evangelists working for the Dutch Reformed Church, this book examines the challenges faced by minority ethnic groups in colonial Zimbabwe and how they tried to strike a balance between particularism and integration. Maintaining their own language and community farm, the Basotho used ownership of freehold land, religion and a shared history to sustain their identity. The author analyses the challenges they faced in purchasing land and in engaging with colonial administrators and missionaries, as well as the nature and impact of internal schisms within the community, and shows how their "unity in diversity" impacted on their struggles for belonging and shaped their lives. This detailed account of the experiences and strategies the Basotho deployed in interactions with the Dutch Reformed Church missionaries and colonial administrators as well as with their non-Sotho neighbours will contribute to wider debates about migration, identity and the politics of belonging, and to our understanding of African agency in the context of colonial and missionary encounters.

Joseph Mujere is Senior Lecturer in History, University of Zimbabwe and Research Associate, Society, Work and Development Institute, University of the Witwatersrand.

Published in association with the British Institute in Eastern Africa

An e-book version of this title is available (9781787444157), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Basotho and the Politics of Belonging in Southern Rhodesia
Evangelists, Migrants and "Progressive Africans"
Colonial Displacements and the Establishment of Native Purchase Areas
"Kubhetere": Bethel Farm and the Basotho's Belonging in the Dewure Purchase Areas
Building a Community School: The Rise and Fall of Bethel School
Adherents and Rebels: The Basotho and the Dutch Reformed Church Missionaries
Epilogue: Uncertainty and the Basotho's Quest for Belonging

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