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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A 'little England' in Chishanga: the fate of a British Empire leprosarium at Ngomahuru, 1925-1946
Author:Mazarire, Gerald ChikozhoISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
colonial administration
About person:Bernard Moisier
Abstract:Evidence of the struggle between imperial aspirations and administrative practicalities lies deeply inscribed in the Chishanga landscape today at Ngomahuru (Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe), where a government-run leprosarium was established in 1926. This is partly because the first government leprologist there, Dr Bernard Moiser, was obsessed with the imperial dream to transform Ngomahuru into a leprosarium for imperial officials, a home from home for British citizens who had 'contracted the disease elsewhere in the Empire': a 'little England'. Moiser gradually came to personify the emergent Ngomahuru Leper Settlement. In the end, however, a 'slum' emerged among the African lepers alongside this 'little England' - enough to excite the anxiety of the government, that quickly appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the situation there in 1945. The commission blamed Moiser for 'incompetence', but observed quite keenly the contradiction inherent in attempting to run an 'imperial standard' leprosarium in a cash-strapped Southern Rhodesia. However, it underplayed a dilemma in which medical officers in British colonial Africa often found themselves - that of advancing 'imperial medicine' in tropical Africa in the face of elaborate bureaucratic control by administrative officers who were also 'serving the empire'. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]