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Title:Rethinking 'Chimurenga' and 'Gukurahundi' in Zimbabwe: a critique of partisan national history
Author:Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo J.ISNI
Periodical:African Studies Review (ISSN 1555-2462)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
political ideologies
nation building
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_studies_review/v055/55.3.ndlovu-gatsheni.pdf
Abstract:This article examines how the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) sought to inscribe a nationalist monologic history in Zimbabwe in order to prop up its claim to be the progenitor and guardian of the postcolonial nation. Since its formation in 1963, it has worked tirelessly to claim to be the only authentic force with a sacred historic mission to deliver the colonized people from settler colonial rule. To achieve this objective, ZANU-PF has deployed the ideology of 'chimurenga' in combination with the strategy of 'gukurahundi' as well as a politics of memorialization to install a particular nationalist historical monologue of the nation. After attaining power in 1980, it proceeded to claim ownership of the birth of the nation. While the ideology of 'chimurenga' situates the birth of the nation within a series of nationalist revolutions dating back to the primary resistance of the 1890s, the strategy of 'gukurahundi' entails violent and physical elimination of enemies and opponents. But this hegemonic drive has always encountered an array of problems, including lack of internal unity in ZANU-PF itself, counternarratives deriving from political formations like the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU); labour movements; and critical voices from the Matebeleland region, which fell victim to 'gukurahundi' strategy in the 1980s. With the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999, which soon deployed democracy and human rights discourse to critique the ideology of 'chimurenga' and the strategy of 'gukurahundi', ZANU-PF hegemony became extremely shaky and it eventually agreed to share power with the MDC in February 2009. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]