Strangers, Spirits, and Land Reforms

Conflicts about Land in Dande, Northern Zimbabwe


This book describes efforts by the Zimbabwean government to enforce land reforms on African farmers in northern Zimbabwe. These efforts compounded rather than alleviated the problem of land scarcity for black small-scale farmers, a problem government now allegedly seeks to redress through invasions of white-owned farms. The book describes the similarities between the post-Independence land reforms and those attempted by the Rhodesian regime.
The land reforms in Dande rendered a considerable number of farmers officially landless. The book describes the resulting internal conflicts over land within the communities in Dande as well as the more concerted forms of resistance of these communities vis-a-vis the state. Attention is also given to the role the spirit mediums of the royal ancestors (Mhondoro) played in this resistance.

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Marja J. Spierenburg, Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Amsterdam (2003), is Assistant Professor at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Earlier publications on natural resource management and spirit possession include The Quest for Fruition through Ngoma (co-edited with R. van Dijk and R. Reis. James Currey, 2000).
'This is a book for anyone trying to understand the challenges and prospects for rural advancement in post-colonial Africa in general and South Africa and Zimbabwe in particular where the legacies of colonialism (read apartheid for South Africa) are still enduring.'
John Blessing Karumbidza (Muse).

'..there is a great deal more to the land issue in Zimbabwe than Mugabe's land seizures. ..This is a valuable work that should be read by anyone interested in the anthropology of religion (or) the anthropology of development'. David O'Kane, European Journal of Anthropology.

All those interested in Zimbabwe, natural resource management policies and practices, land-use and soil conservation programmes, resettlement and migration, religion and resistance, as well as anthropologists, sociologists and Africanists.
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