Struggles for Self-identification Amongst the Kalanga of Zimbabwe: The (Re)construction and Transformation of the Kalanga, 1800 to 2015


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


History Department


This project seeks to examine the intricate processes of identity formation, struggles and shifts over two centuries in the southwestern parts of Zimbabwe. It seeks to engage with various forms of Kalanga precolonial identities such as religion, language, chieftaincy and material culture, which shaped and crafted Kalanga ethnic identity between 1800 and 2015. It argues that the Kalanga were one of the early inhabitants of the Southwestern parts of Zimbabwe, although their identities were multiple, flexible and dynamic. The project will argue that the interpretation and construction of a Kalanga ethnic identity was made possible by various actors such as chiefs, colonial rulers, Kalanga elites and the ordinary men and women. The project will further reveal how intriguing historical factors led to shifts in Kalanga identities after the arrival of missionaries and colonial officials on the Zimbabwean plateau. This project is to be developed into a book manuscript and empirical evidence will be drawn from a historical research and triangulation of archival research, interviews and secondary sources. The project contributes in understanding how identities are formed, articulated sustained, challenged and change overtime.