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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The Politics of the Womb': Women, Politics and the Environment in Pre-Colonial Chivi, Southern Zimbabwe, c. 1840 to 1900
Author:Mazarire, Gerald ChikozhoISNI
Periodical:Zambezia (ISSN 0379-0622)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills., maps
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Subjects:gender relations
traditional polities
customary law
land law
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Status of Women
History, Archaeology
political participation
Environmental resources
social history
External link:http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/africanjournals/html/itemdetail.cfm?recordID=1136
Abstract:During the period after 1840, a number of Shona dynasties - amongst others the Mhari and the Ngowa - emerged in the area between the Runde and Tugwi rivers, now Chivi district, in southern Zimbabwe. This paper shows how the mechanisms of State formation involved the exploitation of women. Chivi is historically known to be a drought prone region and its environment necessitated competition over productive areas. While Shona society acknowledged women's importance in sustaining human and agricultural fertility, this importance was downplayed and subsumed under male hegemony. The reproductive capacities of women became particularly important during the establishment of dynasties or political chiefdoms because, the more wives a man had, the more sons he could sire and the easier it was for him to establish a lineage. This could also mean access to more land. In conclusion, a case study of Mhari politics shows how, with the ever increasing population pressure on the Chivi environment manifesting itself in violent struggles over land, women became important as tokens of peace and in fomenting military alliances. Note, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]