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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 FiveViolence and Impunity 189


Chapter Five Violence and Impunity The sustained and long term use of violence in Zimbabwe lies at the very core of many of the problems our nation faces today. We are indeed afflicted by a very serious disease and need help. David Coltart1 Given a clear choice, all things being equal, I would by conviction adopt the non-violent means to settle any dispute. A settlement arrived at through peaceful negotiations, through give and take to achieve a mutual understanding, is far more stable than a settlement arising out of test of force. The latter approach leaves a legacy of distrust on both sides, and feelings of injustice among the losers which become the seeds of future conflict. Violence breeds violence. Violence easily becomes the precedent for settling disputes. Abel Muzorewa2 Those villagers who back MDC and bow to the mabhunu – we will bomb them! MDC will be crushed for ever. Border Gezi3 This exercise [of crushing ZIPA and its Vashandi influence] was fol- lowed by a politicisation programme in the camps. We warned any person with the tendency to revolt that the ZANU axe would fall on their necks: Tino tema nedemo [‘We will axe you’]. Robert Mugabe4 1 David Coltart is a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer and a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Arthur Mutambara. 2 Muzorewa, Rise Up and Walk, p. 175. 3 Part of Border Gezi’s speech at a ZANU-PF rally in Bindura, 7 April 2000. 4 Quoted in E....

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