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Do ‘Zimbabweans’ Exist?

Trajectories of Nationalism, National Identity Formation and Crisis in a Postcolonial State


Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

This book examines the triumphs and tribulations of the Zimbabwean national project, providing a radical and critical analysis of the fossilisation of Zimbabwean nationalism against the wider context of African nationalism in general. The book departs radically from the common ‘praise-texts’ in seriously engaging with the darker aspects of nationalism, including its failure to create the nation-as-people, and to install democracy and a culture of human rights. The author examines how the various people inhabiting the lands between the Limpopo and Zambezi Rivers entered history and how violence became a central aspect of the national project of organising Zimbabweans into a collectivity in pursuit of a political end.


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Chapter ThreeNational Identity and Common Citizenship 95


Chapter Three National Identity and Common Citizenship When we formed ZANU in 1963, it was called the Zimbabwe African National Union, but by 1974 and the beginning of 1975, it had become in practice ‘Zimbabwe African Tribal Union’ masquerading under the respectable garbs of the ZANU of 1963. The tribalised or regional Dare had therefore ceased to represent ZANU as we know it. It had come to represent in effect ZATU (Zimbabwe African Tribal Union) or ZARU (Zimbabwe African Regional Union). Ndabaningi Sithole1 It is our earnest intention to compel on all levels all the office-bearers of ZANU to feel, think and act nationally and not tribally. After a thor- ough study of the problems facing us in our nation-building through our Party, we are more than convinced that this allocative principle will produce a more conducive atmosphere of nation-building, eliminate tribal manipulation in our political life, and further the cause of our new nationhood. If anyone thinks he has a better way of building our new nation, we are always ready to study such a scheme. Ndabaningi Sithole2 1 Rev. N. Sithole, ‘On the Assassination of Herbert Chitepo and ZANU, 10 May 1976’, in C. Nyangoni and G. Nyandoro (eds), Zimbabwe Independence Movements: Select Documents (London: Rex Collings, 1979), p. 310. 2 Rev. N. Sithole’s Speech to the Lusaka Consultative Meeting, of 30 March 1977, quoted in W. W. Nyangoni, African Nationalism (Rhodesia) (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1977), pp. 132–3. 96 Chapter Three Introduction The agenda...

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