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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Toxification of national holidays and national identity in Zimbabwe's post-2000 nationalism
Author:Mpofu, Shepherd
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
national identity
About person:Robert Gabriel Mugabe (1924-2019)ISNI
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2015.1062354
Abstract:National holidays are some of the oldest known forms of nation-mythologizing used for managing, producing and reproducing national memories and identities. They are calendrically set aside days free from work where people pause and reflect on who they are as a nation. A study of national holidays in the Zimbabwean context exposes the malleability, fragility and contestability of 'official' notions of nationhood as imagined by Zimbabwean president and the ruling Zimbabwe National Union Patriotic Front's (ZANU-PF) leader - Robert Mugabe. This article contends that national holidays have been adulterated by Mugabe who, when presiding over them, fuses the personal and national by speaking as an individual, president of the country and leader of ZANU-PF for politically expedient ends. With this in mind, this article devotes its focus to the study and analysis of Mugabe's speeches on three most cathartic national holidays, namely, Heroes' Day, Defence Forces' Day and Independence Day, as covered in the state-controlled The Herald newspaper between 2000 and 2014. This article analyses Mugabe's speeches and performance of the nation during commemorations and argues that Mugabe has used these commemorations to carve a dictatorial, exclusive, toxic and narrow version of national being. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]