Chishanga: Landscape, History and Memory in Southen Zimbabwe c.1750 to 2000


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


History & International Studies


This is a book project is about a ‘place’ that effectively no longer exists-in the sense of being a recognisable unit of territory. ‘Chishanga’ has always been a term of contestation, referring more or less tenuously to a stretch of ground across which struggles for authority power and identity have taken place. In tracking and examining these struggles using various oral as well as archival sources, this book documents the process through which Chishanga was transformed from being a satellite province of a pre-colonial empire known as the Rozvi in 18th century Zimbabwe to become a part of a Karanga polity under the vaHera dynasty of Mapanzure that subsequently disintegrated due to colonial administrative and land use policies. Central to the discussion is also the reclamation of ‘Chishanga’ in the late 1990s through a process initiated by its people in the 1960s using their numerous but discordant claims.