Forced Removals, Social Memories and the Making of the Colonial State in Northwestern Zimbabwe, c1940 to 2000


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Development Studies


Colonialism left a number of historical scars on the African continent. Forced removal was one historic event that shaped and changed the geo-political landscape of what is now Zimbabwe. This project examines how forced removal is used as a prism to remember and debate historical change, to negotiate social belonging and contest ethnic identity. The objective is to explain the twin processes of state-making and place-making in northwestern Zimbabwe. It moves away from the discourse of victimhood to analyse how forced removal revolutionised the countryside and laid the foundations for local government reforms. Forced removal is examined as part of the broad state making policies and establishing state control in northwest. It argues that removals were also meant to control African social life which was negotiated between state infrastructures, agencies and rural citizens. Gravel roads led the revolution in the countryside turning them into vibrant sites of social interactions.