Land occupations in Shamva, Bindura and Mashonaland Central Province

The Director of the Unit (Professor Kirk Helliker) and Dr Sandra Bhatasara, who graduated with a PhD in 2015 from Rhodes and lectures in the Department of Sociology at the University of Zimbabwe, have been undertaking research on the land occupations (from the year 2000) in Mashonaland Central Province since early 2015. The research started in Shamva, and was continued in Bindura in 2017. Further research will be undertaken early next year.

The land occupations, which took place on a nation-wide basis and led to the Zimbabwean government’s fast track land reform programme, remain under-researched despite the considerable number of studies undertaken on the fast track land reform programme.

Two papers on the Shamva occupations were presented at workshops and conferences as follows:

“Interrogating the Grand Narratives about Fast Track Land Occupations in Zimbabwe: the Case of Shamva District” presented at Unit for Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU) Seminar, 12th August 2015.

“A Commoning Perspective on the Fast Track Land Occupations in Shamva District, Zimbabwe” presented at Colloquium on “Class, Colonialism and the Commons: the case of Southern Africa”, Department of History, Rhodes University, 20th-21st August 2015.

One article on the Shamva occupations has since been published in the “Journal of Asian and African Studies”. The abstract for this article reads as follows: “There has been significant debate about the land occupations which occurred from the year 2000 in Zimbabwe, with a key controversy concerning the role of the state and ruling party (or party-state) in the occupations. This controversy, deriving from two grand narratives about the occupations, remains unresolved. A burgeoning literature exists on the Zimbabwean state’s fast-track land reform programme, which arose in the context of the occupations, but this literature is concerned mainly with post-occupation developments on fast-track farms. This article seeks to contribute to resolving the controversy surrounding the party-state and the land occupations by examining the occupations in the Shamva District of Mashonaland Central Province. The fieldwork for our Shamva study focused exclusively on the land occupations (and not on the fast-track farms) and was undertaken in May 2015. We conclude from our Shamva study that involvement by the party-state did not take on an institutionalised form but was of a personalised character entailing interventions by specific party and state actors”.

An article on the Bindura occupations has been accepted and is forthcoming in the “African Studies Quarterly”.


Last Modified: Wed, 16 May 2018 11:19:54 SAST