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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Environmental reform: a new venture of Zimbabwe's traditional custodians of the land
Author:Daneel, M.L.
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Abstract:The traditional custodians of the land in Zimbabwe have always been the chiefs and the senior spirit mediums. The author analyses the historical and cultural context in which the powers and duties of Shona chiefs and spirit mediums derived from a particular religious-political relationship they have with their ancestors, the environment and the creator-god Mwari. Hence the legitimacy of chiefs and spirit mediums depends on their guiding the community in the treatment of the land, the forest and the water in such a way as to ensure that a correct relationship is maintained with the divine. Rainfall for the crops depends on this relationship. Thus political power is intertwined with the environment. In modern Zimbabwe, the chiefs and spirit mediums still have the authority and leadership potential to mobilize rural communities on a massive scale in communal programmes of environmental reform, as illustrated by the ecological endeavours, mainly in the field of afforestation, undertaken by Shona traditional authorities in the context of Aztrec (Association of Zimbabwean Traditional Ecologists) in Masvingo Province since the late 1980s. Bibliogr., ref.