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The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe

The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe: Harare and Highfield, 1940-1964

Volume: 35
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe
    Book Description:

    The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe details a democratic tradition developed in the 1940s and 1950s, and a movement that would fall victim to an increasingly elitist and divisive political culture by the 1960s. Providing biogra

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-752-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-ix)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Notes to the Reader
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. [Maps]
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    The primary goal of this book is to provide an account of a democratic tradition that was present in the African townships of what was Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, and to show how that tradition was cut off by the political violence associated with the leadership struggles and factionalism of the early 1960s. The setting for this story is primarily centered in two places, Harare township (now Mbare) and Highfield township, although the narrative also follows nationalist leaders to London, Dar es Salaam, and Washington, D.C. Zimbabwean scholars, writers, and journalists, have written fondly of their own memories of the cultural...

  9. 1 Charles Mzingeli’s Leadership and Imperial Working-Class Citizenship
    (pp. 12-28)

    Charles Mzingeli’s historical legacy is complex, but one aspect of it is in serious need of revision. The notion that he was a “sellout” needs to be put in the context of what came before the 1960s, and of how he felt a betrayal by the younger leaders, particularly after the original decision to boycott the African seats in the Federation Parliament was ignored in 1952. A more realistic view of Mzingeli might be that he consistently did his best to counter any attempts by European authorities to deny African politicians a space to govern themselves. His strategy was to...

  10. 2 Township Protest Politics
    (pp. 29-48)

    The period of demobilization after World War II was a crucial one for Pan-African politics, as soldiers, workers, and intellectuals found common ground through their demands for better treatment and representation. Mzingeli’s contacts with other Pan-Africanists may not have been extensive beyond his reading of Pan-African newspapers and pamphlets, but his politics suggest that he was working within the ideological framework of other African and African Diaspora political movements of this period.¹ The RICU had taken shape by September 1946, and Mzingeli was trying his best to call attention to the government’s hypocrisy in sending African troops to fight the...

  11. 3 Resistance to the Urban Areas Act and Women’s Political Influence
    (pp. 49-68)

    This chapter explores the role of Mzingeli’s RICU in challenging the state’s use of segregation legislation to reshape urban life for African residents. The potential impact of the N(UA)ARA in 1946 could have been dramatic given the ambitious goals contained within this legislation. It sought to engineer and plan urban residential segregation in ways that would maximize the availability of low-wage labor to urban-based industrialists while minimizing the continued growth of African residential areas in the “whites-only” suburbs and neighborhoods of the city. The costs were high for this plan to succeed, however, from the standpoint of the European bureaucracy...

  12. 4 Changing Tactics: Youth League Politics and the End of Accommodation
    (pp. 69-93)

    In the early 1950s, at a time when the British were beginning to develop ways to accommodate nationalist leaders’ demands to decolonize the Empire’s African possessions, white politicians in Southern Rhodesia developed and advocated to Britain a plan to unite Southern Rhodesia with the two British colonies of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. This Central African Federation would last for about ten years (1953–63) and proved to be very profitable for white interests, particular for those in Salisbury who made their city the capital of the Federation. Increased demands for copper from Northern Rhodesia benefited businesses in Southern Rhodesia as...

  13. 5 The Early Sixties: Violent Protests and “Sellout” Politics
    (pp. 94-113)

    1960 was proclaimed “The Year of Africa” with independence celebrations planned for seventeen new African nations, including all the remaining colonies of French West Africa, the Belgian Congo, and Nigeria, but the political climate was still hardly festive in southern and central Africa. Nationalists in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia were jockeying to be the next leaders, while events in South-West Africa, South Africa, and Southern Rhodesia were to show just how serious the settler states were about denying Africans any significant political power. Protesters had been shot in South-West Africa in September 1959; in South Africa police had shown their...

  14. 6 The “Imperialist Stooge” and New Levels of “Sellout” Political Violence
    (pp. 114-133)

    Reuben Jamela managed to gain a brief boost in popularity following a disastrous strike call by rival union leader Josiah Maluleke in May 1962. The Southern Rhodesian government arrested most of the key SRATUC leaders including Maluleke, and many striking workers were fired from their jobs. Jamela was able to negotiate the rehiring of some fired strikers, given his close ties to the Department of Labour and employers’ preference for his union over the new one. Even though the May strike had failed, workers complained of intimidation in the morning and of having been beaten or threatened by groups of...

  15. 7 The ZAPU-ZANU Split and the Battlegrounds of Harare and Highfield
    (pp. 134-157)

    This chapter examines the leadership split in the nationalist movement and the subsequent ramifications in Harare and Highfield. The decision by the breakaway executive of ZAPU to form a new party in the summer of 1963 led to a struggle that would culminate in intramovement violence. This development was welcomed by the Southern Rhodesian state, especially as the Rhodesian Front took advantage of the political violence to legitimate its draconian measures to “maintain law and order,” while actually using these laws to divide and dismantle the leadership of the nationalist movement. In addition, given the physical layout of the townships...

  16. Conclusion
    (pp. 158-164)

    This book has sought to weave together a linear narrative while at the same time unraveling many of the complexities contained within such concepts as African nationalism and the local, national, or international interests in Zimbabwean history. A fundamental theme has been to examine how nationalist leaders channeled their personal and localized frustrations with the humiliations of white racism, economic and political discrimination, and residential segregation into political action. It would be a mistake to assume that such channeling of discontent should automatically lead to a coherent nationalist politics, and as this narrative has shown, it was not a linear...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 165-202)
  18. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 203-210)
  19. Index
    (pp. 211-220)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 221-225)