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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'They promised that the game fences would be torn down': nationalist politics and contested control of natural resources in southeastern Zimbabwe, 1960s-1970s
Author:Mtisi, RichardISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:national parks and reserves
national liberation struggles
rural economy
land conflicts
About person:Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo (1917-1999)ISNI
Abstract:This paper examines Zimbabwe's nationalist politics in the 1960s and 1970s, in particular the politics of Joshua Nkomo, a prominent nationalist leader of Zimbabwe's anti-colonial struggle, who cultivated his support by emphasizing regional issues involving land and the environment. Land, and the alienation of land for settler agriculture, are seen as the primary reasons for popular participation in the anti-colonial struggle in Zimbabwe. This paper, however, focusses on the creation of game reserves which in some areas constituted an equally powerful source of conflict between the State and local agrarian communities. The establishment of reserves in drier parts of the country hit livelihoods hard, leading to harsh critiques of the colonial system. Restrictions on hunting, as well as loss of farmland, curtailed access to vital forest products, and other matters made agrarian economies less diversified and reduced their capacity to respond successfully to ecological uncertainty. Nkomo's appeal to local grievances and his understanding of land issues earned him popular support. The paper also provides background on colonial land alienation, and discusses the impact of the creation of the Gonarezhou Game Reserve on villagers' livelihoods between the 1920s and the 1960s. It then examines the tension between nationalist politics and local concerns about land and the environment from the 1960s to the mid-1970s. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]