Growing out of the collaborative research of an American ethnomusicologist and Zimbabwean musician, Paul F. Berliner’s The Art of Mbira documents the repertory for a keyboard instrument known generally as mbira. At the heart of this work lies the analysis of the improvisatory processes that propel mbira music’s magnificent creativity.
In this book, Berliner provides insight into the communities of study, performance, and worship that surround mbira. He chronicles how master player Cosmas Magaya and his associates have developed their repertory and practices over more than four decades, shaped by musical interaction, social and political dynamics in Zimbabwe, and the global economy of the music industry. At once a detailed exposition of the music’s forms and practices, it is also an indispensable historical and cultural guide to mbira in a changing world.
Together with Berliner and Magaya's compendium of mbira compositions, Mbira’s Restless Dance, The Art of Mbira breaks new ground in the depth and specificity of its exploration of an African musical tradition, and in the entwining of the authors’ collaborative voices. It is a testament to the powerful relationship between music and social life—and the rewards of lifelong musical study, performance, and friendship.
In Fighting and Writing Luise White brings the force of her historical insight to bear on the many war memoirs published by white soldiers who fought for Rhodesia during the 1964–1979 Zimbabwean liberation struggle. In the memoirs of white soldiers fighting to defend white minority rule in Africa long after other countries were independent, White finds a robust and contentious conversation about race, difference, and the war itself. These are writings by men who were ambivalent conscripts, generally aware of the futility of their fight—not brutal pawns flawlessly executing the orders and parroting the rhetoric of a racist regime. Moreover, most of these men insisted that the most important aspects of fighting a guerrilla war—tracking and hunting, knowledge of the land and of the ways of African society—were learned from black playmates in idealized rural childhoods. In these memoirs, African guerrillas never lost their association with the wild, even as white soldiers boasted of bringing Africans into the intimate spaces of regiment and regime.
Every European power in Africa made motion pictures for its subjects, but no state invested as heavily in these films, and expected as much from them, as the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Flickering Shadows is the first book to explore this little-known world of colonial cinema.
J. M. Burns pieces together the history of the cinema in Rhodesia, examining film production, audience reception, and state censorship, to reconstruct the story of how Africans in one nation became consumers of motion pictures. Movies were a valued “tool of empire” designed to assimilate Africans into a new colonial order. Inspired by an inflated confidence in the medium, Rhodesian government offcials created an African Film industry that was unprecedented in its size and scope.
Transforming the lives of their subjects through cinema proved more complicated than white officials had anticipated. Although Africans embraced the medium with enthusiasm, they expressed critical opinions and demonstrated decided tastes that left colonial officials puzzled and alarmed.
Flickering Shadows tells the fascinating story of how motion pictures were introduced and negotiated in a colonial setting. In doing so, it casts light on the history of the globalization of the cinema. This work is based on interviews with white and black filmmakers and African audience members, extensive archival research in Africa and England, and viewings of scores of colonial films.
This study examines the social changes that took place in Southern Rhodesia after the arrival of the British South Africa Company in the 1890s. Summer’s work focuses on interactions among settlers, the officials of the British South America Company and the administration, missionaries, humanitarian groups in Britain, and the most vocal or noticeable groups of Africans. Through this period of military conquest and physical coercion, to the later attempts at segregationist social engineering, the ideals and justifications of Southern Rhodesians changed drastically. Native Policy, Native Education policies, and, eventually, segregationist Native Development policies changed and evolved as the white and black inhabitants of Southern Rhodesia (colonial Zimbabwe) struggled over the region’s social form and future.
Summers’s work complements a handful of other recent works reexamining the social history of colonial Zimbabwe and demonstrating how knowledge, perception, and ideologies interacted with the economic and political dimensions of the region’s past.
Women in Haiti are frequent victims of sexual violence and armed assault. Yet an astonishing proportion of these victims also act as perpetrators of violent crime, often as part of armed groups. Award-winning legal scholar Benedetta Faedi Duramy visited Haiti to discover what causes these women to act in such destructive ways and what might be done to stop this tragic cycle of violence.
Gender and Violence in Haiti is the product of more than a year of extensive firsthand observations and interviews with the women who have been caught up in the widespread violence plaguing Haiti. Drawing from the experiences of a diverse group of Haitian women, Faedi Duramy finds that both the victims and perpetrators of violence share a common sense of anger and desperation. Untangling the many factors that cause these women to commit violence, from self-defense to revenge, she identifies concrete measures that can lead them to feel vindicated and protected by their communities.
Faedi Duramy vividly conveys the horrifying conditions pervading Haiti, even before the 2010 earthquake. But Gender and Violence in Haiti also carries a message of hope—and shows what local authorities and international relief agencies can do to help the women of Haiti.
The Gender of Piety is an intimate history of the Brethren in Christ Church in Zimbabwe, or BICC, as related through six individual life histories that extend from the early colonial years through the first decade after independence. Taken together, these six lives show how men and women of the BICC experienced and sequenced their piety in different ways. Women usually remained tied to the church throughout their lives, while men often had a more strained relationship with it. Church doctrine was not always flexible enough to accommodate expected masculine gender roles, particularly male membership in political and economic institutions or participation in important male communal practices.
The study is based on more than fifteen years of extensive oral history research supported by archival work in Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The oral accounts make it clear, official versions to the contrary, that the church was led by spiritually powerful women and that maleness and mission-church notions of piety were often incompatible.
The life-history approach illustrates how the tension of gender roles both within and without the church manifested itself in sometimes unexpected ways: for example, how a single family could produce both a legendary woman pastor credited with mediating multiple miracles and a man—her son—who joined the armed wing of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union nationalist political party and fought in Zimbabwe’s liberation war in the 1970s. Investigating the lives of men and women in equal measure, The Gender of Piety uses a gendered interpretive lens to analyze the complex relationship between the church and broader social change in this region of southern Africa.
Selected for the Junior Library’s pilot program for adult/teen crossover books
In this delicious and devastating first novel, which The Guardian named one of its ten best contemporary African books, Caine Prize finalist Tendai Huchu (The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician) portrays the heart of contemporary Zimbabwean society with humor and grace.
Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Mrs. Khumalo’s salon, and she is secure in her status until the handsome, smooth-talking Dumisani shows up one day for work. Despite her resistance, the two become friends, and eventually, Vimbai becomes Dumisani’s landlady. He is as charming as he is deft with the scissors, and Vimbai finds that he means more and more to her. Yet, by novel’s end, the pair’s deepening friendship—used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind—collapses in unexpected brutality.
The novel is an acute portrayal of a rapidly changing Zimbabwe. In addition to Vimbai and Dumisani’s personal development, the book shows us how social concerns shape the lives of everyday people.
In 1980 the ZANU/PF government of Robert Mugabe came to power after an extended war of liberation. They inherited a cluster of emergency laws similar to those available to the authorities in South Africa. It was also the beginning of the cynical South African state policy of destabilization of the frontline states. This led to a dangerous period of insurrection in Mashonaland and increased activity by Renamo.
Dr. Hatchard uses the case of Zimbabwe to ask questions about the use of authority in contemporary African states. He examines:
1. Whether and in what circumstances the declaration and retention of a state of emergency is justified;
2.The scope of emergency regulations and their impact on individual freedoms;
3.What safeguards are necessary in order to protect those freedoms during a state of emergency.
The relationship is studied from a political as well as a legal perspective. Dr. Hatchard examines the role law has played, is playing and may play. The author concludes that, even if the state of emergency is justified, this does not necessitate the curtailment of the exercise of individual freedoms.
There are many comparisons with the rest of Africa. The book is of practical importance for members of the judiciary, legal practitioners, politicians and human rights organizations. The difficult questions it poses make stimulating teaching material for students of the Third World who want to understand the reality of the exercise of power in fragile situations.
How do people come to need products they never even knew they wanted? How, for example, did indigenous Zimbabweans of the 1940s begin to believe that they required Lifebuoy soap? Offering a glimpse into the intimate workings of modern colonialism and global capitalism, Timothy Burke takes up these questions in Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women, a study of post-World War II commodity culture in Zimbabwe. With particular attention to cosmetic products and the contrast between colonial and pre-colonial ideas of cleanliness, Burke examines the role played by commodity culture, changing patterns of consumption, and the spread of advertising in the making of modern Zimbabwe. His work combines history, anthropology, and political economy to show how the development of commodification in the region relates to the social history of hygiene. Within this framework, and drawing on a wide variety of historical sources, Burke explores dense interactions between commodity culture and embodied aspects of race, gender, sexuality, domesticity, health, and aesthetics in a colonial society. Rather than viewing the production of needs simply as an imposition from above, Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women shows what heterogeneous and complex processes, involving the aims and histories of both colonizers and colonized, produced these changes in Zimbabwean society. Integrating political economy, cultural studies, and a wide range of the social sciences, Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women will find readers among scholars of colonialism, African history, and ethnography as well those for whom the problem of commodification is a significant theoretical issue.
Like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, singer, composer, and bandleader Thomas Mapfumo and his music came to represent his native country's anticolonial struggle and cultural identity. Mapfumo was born in 1945 in what was then the British colony of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The trajectory of his career—from early performances of rock 'n' roll tunes to later creating a new genre based on traditional Zimbabwean music, including the sacred mbira, and African and Western pop—is a metaphor for Zimbabwe's evolution from colony to independent nation. Lion Songs is an authoritative biography of Mapfumo that narrates the life and career of this creative, complex, and iconic figure.
Banning Eyre ties the arc of Mapfumo's career to the history of Zimbabwe. The genre Mapfumo created in the 1970s called chimurenga, or "struggle" music, challenged the Rhodesian government—which banned his music and jailed him—and became important to Zimbabwe achieving independence in 1980. In the 1980s and 1990s Mapfumo's international profile grew along with his opposition to Robert Mugabe's dictatorship. Mugabe had been a hero of the revolution, but Mapfumo’s criticism of his regime led authorities and loyalists to turn on the singer with threats and intimidation. Beginning in 2000, Mapfumo and key band and family members left Zimbabwe. Many of them, including Mapfumo, now reside in Eugene, Oregon.
A labor of love, Lion Songs is the product of a twenty-five-year friendship and professional relationship between Eyre and Mapfumo that demonstrates Mapfumo's musical and political importance to his nation, its freedom struggle, and its culture.
The Hairdresser of Harare, which the New York Times Book Review called “a fresh and moving account of contemporary Zimbabwe,” announced Tendai Huchu as a shrewd and funny social commentator. In The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician, Huchu expands his focus from Zimbabwe to the lives of expatriates in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The novel follows three Zimbabwean men as they struggle to find places for themselves in Scotland. As he wanders Edinburgh with his Walkman on a constant loop of the music of home, the Magistrate—a former judge, now a health aide—tries to find meaning in new memories. The depressed and quixotic Maestro—gone AWOL from his job stocking shelves at a grocery store—escapes into books. And the youthful Mathematician enjoys a carefree and hedonistic graduate school life, until he can no longer ignore the struggles of his fellow expatriates.
In this novel of ideas, Huchu deploys satire to thoughtful end in what is quickly becoming his signature mode. Shying from neither the political nor the personal, he creates a humorous but increasingly somber picture of love, loss, belonging, and politics in the Zimbabwean diaspora.
Since 1992, when the World Heritage Committee established its category of “cultural landscapes,” scholarly debates have ensued as to how they could best be managed. One approach, which appears to have gained significance over the past two decades, considers using traditional conservation practices in addition to engaging local indigenous communities in the stewardship of these exemplary sites. Based on the perspectives of the indigenous people of the Matobo Hills, this investigation studies the extent to which both traditional conservation practices and local involvement can be germane to the administration of World Heritage Cultural Landscapes.
The Moral Economy of the State examines state formation in Zimbabwe from the colonial period through the first decade of independence. Drawing on the works of Gramsci, E. P. Thompson, and James Scott, William Munro develops a theory of “moral economy” that explores negotiations between rural citizens and state agents over legitimate state incursions in social life. This analysis demonstrates how states try to shape the meanings of citizenship for agrarian populations by redefining conceptions of the public good, property rights, and community membership.
The book's focus on the moral economy of the state offers a refreshing perspective on the difficulties experienced by postcolonial African states in building stronger state and rural institutions.
A Most Promising Weed examines the work experience, living conditions, and social relations of thousands of African men, women, and children on European-owned tobacco farms in colonial Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1945. Steven C. Rubert provides evidence that Africans were not passive in their responses to the penetration of European capitalism into Zimbabwe but, on the contrary, helped to shape both the work and living conditions they encountered as they entered wage employment.
Beginning with a brief history of tobacco growing in Zimbabwe, this study focuses on the organization of workers' compounds and on the paid and unpaid labor performed by both women and children on those farms.
Hailed as a national hero and musical revolutionary, Thomas Mapfumo, along with other Zimbabwean artists, burst onto the music scene in the 1980s with a unique style that combined electric guitar with indigenous Shona music and instruments. The development of this music from its roots in the early Rhodesian era to the present and the ways this and other styles articulated with Zimbabwean nationalism is the focus of Thomas Turino's new study. Turino examines the emergence of cosmopolitan culture among the black middle class and how this gave rise to a variety of urban-popular styles modeled on influences ranging from the Mills Brothers to Elvis. He also shows how cosmopolitanism gave rise to the nationalist movement itself, explaining the combination of "foreign" and indigenous elements that so often define nationalist art and cultural projects. The first book-length look at the role of music in African nationalism, Turino's work delves deeper than most books about popular music and challenges the reader to think about the lives and struggles of the people behind the surface appeal of world music.
Sue Onslow Ohio University Press, 2018 Library of Congress DT3000.O57 2018 | Dewey Decimal 968.91051092
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe sharply divides opinion and embodies the contradictions of his country’s history and political culture. As a symbol of African liberation and a stalwart opponent of white rule, he was respected and revered by many. This heroic status contrasted sharply, in the eyes of his rivals and victims, with repeated cycles of gross human rights violations. Mugabe presided over the destruction of a vibrant society, capital flight, and mass emigration precipitated by the policies of his government, resulting in his demonic image in Western media.
This timely biography addresses the coup, led by some of Mugabe’s closest associates, that forced his resignation after thirty-seven years in power. Sue Onslow and Martin Plaut explain Mugabe’s formative experiences as a child and young man; his role as an admired Afro-nationalist leader in the struggle against white settler rule; and his evolution into a political manipulator and survivalist. They also address the emergence of political opposition to his leadership and the uneasy period of coalition government. Ultimately, they reveal the complexity of the man who stamped his personality on Zimbabwe’s first four decades of independence.
In 2005, Tony Perman attended a ceremony alongside the living and the dead. His visit to a Zimbabwe farm brought him into contact with the madhlozi, outsider spirits that Ndau people rely upon for guidance, protection, and their collective prosperity.
Perman's encounters with the spirits, the mediums who bring them back, and the accompanying rituals form the heart of his ethnographic account of how the Ndau experience ceremonial musicking. As Perman witnessed other ceremonies, he discovered that music and dancing shape the emotional lives of Ndau individuals by inviting them to experience life's milestones or cope with its misfortunes as a group. Signs of the Spirit explores the historical, spiritual, and social roots of ceremonial action and details how that action influences the Ndau's collective approach to their future. The result is a vivid ethnomusicological journey that delves into the immediacy of musical experience and the forces that transform ceremonial performance into emotions and community.
This sensitive, scholarly portrayal of Shona musicians and the African Musical tradition is highly engaging and comprehensive in its range of data. Paul Berliner provides the complete cultural context for the music and an intimate, precise account of the meaning of the instrument and its music.
"Paul Berliner's The Soul of Mbira is probably the best ethnography ever written about an African musical tradition. It is a complete classic . . . . I know of no other instrument with the range of the mbira, and the book is equal to the instrument."—John Chernoff
"[The Soul of Mbira] illustrates the fact that Shona mbira music in its beauty, subtlety, and virtuosity demands the same kind of respect that we might hold for any other classical music."—David Reck, Parabola
"The book is a model of ethnomusicological thinking and investigation and it suggests a specific way of approaching a complex socio-musical system."—John Baily, Popular Music
"When next someone asks 'What is ethnomusicology?' or 'What do ethnomusicologists do?' I shall suggest this book. . . . This is a landmark in ethnomusicological literature. Berliner succeeds in conveying both the joy that goes with mbira playing and the mystic relationship between the player and his instrument. In short, this is humanized ethnomusicology."—K.A. Gourlay, Ethnomusicology
Since 2000, black squatters have forcibly occupied white farms across Zimbabwe, reigniting questions of racialized dispossession, land rights, and legacies of liberation. Donald S. Moore probes these contentious politics by analyzing fierce disputes over territory, sovereignty, and subjection in the country’s eastern highlands. He focuses on poor farmers in Kaerezi who endured colonial evictions from their ancestral land and lived as refugees in Mozambique during Zimbabwe’s guerrilla war. After independence in 1980, Kaerezians returned home to a changed landscape. Postcolonial bureaucrats had converted their land from a white ranch into a state resettlement scheme. Those who defied this new spatial order were threatened with eviction. Moore shows how Kaerezians’ predicaments of place pivot on memories of “suffering for territory,” at once an idiom of identity and entitlement. Combining fine-grained ethnography with innovative theoretical insights, this book illuminates the complex interconnections between local practices of power and the wider forces of colonial rule, nationalist politics, and global discourses of development.
Moore makes a significant contribution to postcolonial theory with his conceptualization of “entangled landscapes” by articulating racialized rule, situated sovereignties, and environmental resources. Fusing Gramscian cultural politics and Foucault’s analytic of governmentality, he enlists ethnography to foreground the spatiality of power. Suffering for Territory demonstrates how emplaced micro-practices matter, how the outcomes of cultural struggles are contingent on the diverse ways land comes to be inhabited, labored upon, and suffered for.
Based on the author’s fieldwork among the people of Zezuru, this study focuses on children as clients and as healers in training. In Reynolds’s ethnographic investigation of possession and healing, she pays particular attention to the way healers are identified and authenticated in communities, and how they are socialized in the use of medicinal plants, dreams, and ritual healing practices. Reynolds examines spiritual interpretation and remediation of children’s problems, including women’s roles in these activities, and the Zezuru concepts of trauma, evil, illness, and death. Because this study was undertaken just after the War of Liberation in Zimbabwe, it also documents the devastating effects of the war.
Undoing the Revolution looks at the way rural underclasses ally with out-of-power elites to overthrow their governments—only to be shut out of power when the new regime assumes control. Vasabjit Banerjee first examines why peasants need to ally with dissenting elites in order to rebel. He then shows how conflict resolution and subsequent bargains to form new state institutions re-empower allied elites and re-marginalize peasants.
Banerjee evaluates three different agrarian societies during distinct time periods spanning the twentieth century: revolutionary Mexico from 1910 to 1930; late-colonial India from 1920 until 1947; and White-dominated Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) from the mid-1960s to 1980. This comparative approach also allows examination of both the underclass need for elite participation and the variety of causes that elites use to incentivize peasant classes to participate, extending from religious-ethnic identity and common political targets to the peasants’ and elites’ own economic grievances.
Undoing the Revolution demonstrates that both international and domestic investors in cash crops, natural resources, and finance can ally with peasant rebels; and, after threatened or actual state collapse, they can bargain with each other to select new state institutions.
In 1965 the white minority government of Rhodesia (after 1980 Zimbabwe) issued a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain, rather than negotiate a transition to majority rule. In doing so, Rhodesia became the exception, if not anathema, to the policies and practices of the end of empire. In Unpopular Sovereignty, Luise White shows that the exception that was Rhodesian independence did not, in fact, make the state that different from new nations elsewhere in Africa: indeed, this history of Rhodesian political practices reveals some of the commonalities of mid-twentieth-century thinking about place and race and how much government should link the two.
White locates Rhodesia’s independence in the era of decolonization in Africa, a time of great intellectual ferment in ideas about race, citizenship, and freedom. She shows that racists and reactionaries were just as concerned with questions of sovereignty and legitimacy as African nationalists were and took special care to design voter qualifications that could preserve their version of legal statecraft. Examining how the Rhodesian state managed its own governance and electoral politics, she casts an oblique and revealing light by which to rethink the narratives of decolonization.
We Are All Zimbabweans Now
James Kilgore Ohio University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3561.I3675W4 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
We Are All Zimbabweans Now is a political thriller set in Zimbabwe in the hopeful, early days of Robert Mugabe’s rise to power in the late 1980s. When Ben Dabney, a Wisconsin graduate student, arrives in the country, he is enamored with Mugabe and the promises of his government’s model of racial reconciliation. But as Ben begins his research and delves more deeply into his hero’s life, he finds fatal flaws. Ultimately Ben reconsiders not only his understanding of Mugabe, but his own professional and personal life.
James Kilgore brings an authentic voice to a work of youthful hope, disillusionment, and unsettling resolution.
The revolt against white rule in Rhodesia nurtured incipient local feminisms in women who imagined independence as a road to gender equity and economic justice. But the country's rebirth as Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe's rise to power dashed these hopes.
Using history, literature, participant observation, and interviews, Carolyn Martin Shaw surveys Zimbabwean feminisms from the colonial era to today. She examines how actions as clearly disparate as baking scones for self-protection, carrying guns in the liberation, and feeling morally superior to men represent sources of female empowerment. She also presents the ways women across Zimbabwean society--rural and urban, professional and domestic--accommodated or confronted post-independence setbacks. Finally, Shaw offers perspectives on the ways contemporary Zimbabwean women depart from the prevailing view that feminism is a Western imposition having little to do with African women.
The result of thirty years of experience, Women and Power in Zimbabwe addresses the promises of feminism and femininity for generations of African women.