Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

UKZN Press

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Zimbabwe’ Category

Was Zimbawe’s economic and structural decline inevitable?

By the dawn of independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had one of the most structurally developed economies and state systems in Africa and was classified as a middle-income country.

In 1980, Zimbabwe’s GDP per capita was almost equal to that of China. More than 30 years later, Zimbabwe had regressed to a low-income country with a GDP per capita among the lowest in the world. With these dark economic conditions, discussions concerning structural problems of a country once cited as Africa’s best potential are reignited.

Shumba interrogates the ruling elite political reproduction, modes of accumulation across key economic sectors and implications for development outcomes.

The book raises some pressing questions in search of answers.

If Zimbabwe was the golden darling after independence, why did this happen? Was it inevitable? What were the crucial choices made that led to it? Did the ruling elite know that their choices would lead to Zimbabwe’s developmental decline?
Jabusile Shumba is a development and public policy graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. He co-edited Zimbabwe: Mired in Transition (2012). He works with civil society, governments and international organisations in the fields of public policy analysis, governance and human rights, and he lectures part-time for Africa University, College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance.

Book details

» read article

New: Ordered States: Welfare, Power and Maternalism on Zimbabwe’s (Once White) Highveld by Andrew MC Hartnack

Ordered Estates offers a sophisticated and nuanced portrait of Zimbabwe’s contemporary agrarian landscape, providing a valuable contribution to the growing body of work about changes in different social, political, structural and cultural spheres generated in the post-2000 “Fast Track” era.

- Amanda Hammar, MSO Professor of African Studies, University of Copenhagen

Ordered StatesUKZN Press is proud to present Ordered States: Welfare, Power and Maternalism on Zimbabwe’s (Once White) Highveld by Andrew MC Hartnack:

There is a growing body of work on white farmers in Zimbabwe. Yet the role played by white women – so-called “farmers’ wives” – on commercial farms has been almost completely ignored, if not forgotten.

For all the public role and overt power ascribed to white male farmers, their wives played an equally important, although often more subtle, role in power and labour relations on white commercial farms. This “soft power” took the form of maternalistic welfare initiatives such as clinics, schools, orphan programmes and women’s clubs, most overseen by a “farmer’s wife”. Before and after Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence these played an important role in attracting and keeping farm labourers, and governing their behaviour. After independence they also became crucial to the way white farmers justified their continued ownership of most of Zimbabwe’s prime farmland.

This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the role that farm welfare initiatives played in Zimbabwe’s agrarian history. Having assessed what implications such endeavours had for the position and well-being of farmworkers before the onset of “fast-track” land reform in the year 2000, Hartnack examines in vivid ethnographic detail the impact that the farm seizures had on the lives of farmworkers and the welfare programmes which had previously attempted to improve their lot.

About the author

Andrew Hartnack holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town. He is a Director at the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, a leading South African research and advocacy organisation.

Book details

» read article

Mugabe does not rule alone – Read an excerpt from Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton

Power Politics in ZimbabwePower Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton is a careful analysis of one of the most controversial presidencies in the world.

In this preeminent book on Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF, the author looks at the political settlements, roots of repression, colonial political settlements, the Zimbabwean period of crisis (2000-2008), the power-sharing experiment (2008-2013), and the power politics at play in the country.

Bratton, a distinguished professor of of political science and African studies at Michigan State University, also reflects on the rewriting of the constitution, improving the electoral conduct, a security-sector reform and tackling transitional justice.

The first chapter takes a look at the power politics in Zimbabwe and gives an outline of the book. US publishers Lynne Rienner, who first released this book in 2014, have made an excerpt available; giving readers the opportunity to sample the first chapter in its entirety.

Read the excerpt:

Power Politics in Zimbabwe – Excerpt

Book details

» read article

Presenting Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton – the preeminent book on Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF

Power Politics in ZimbabweUKZN Press is proud to announce that Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton is now available:

Zimbabwe’s July 2013 election brought the country’s “inclusive” power-sharing interlude to an end and installed Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF for yet another – its seventh – term. Why? What explains the resilience of authoritarian rule in Zimbabwe?

Tracing the country’s elusive search for a legitimate political settlement across the decades, Bratton offers a careful analysis of the failed power-sharing experiment, an account of its institutional origins and an explanation of its demise. In the process, he explores key challenges of political transition: constitution making, elections, security-sector reform and transitional justice.

Compelling, thoroughly researched, and immensely informative … Power Politics will also generate a great deal of discussion among Zimbabwe specialists as they confront the lessons and implications of Bratton’s provocative analysis.

- Ngonidzashe Munemo, Perspectives on Politics

A powerful and deeply personal book about Zimbabwean politics that also yields considerable comparative insights for students of democracy in other parts of Africa … Bratton has offered us an instant classic of Zimbabwe studies, with implications reaching well beyond the borders of that troubled place.

- Pierre Englebert, Journal of Democracy

Thoughtful, well written and persuasive, this has to be the preeminent book on contemporary Zimbabwe. Highly recommended.


About the author

Michael Bratton is University Distinguished Professor of political science and African studies at Michigan State University. His numerous publications include, most recently, Voting and Democratic Citizenship in Africa and Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa (with Robert Mattes and E Gyimah-Boadi).

Book details

» read article

Roger Southall on the 2014 South African Elections: “The ANC’s Vote is Beginning to Crumble”

Liberation Movements in PowerRoger Southall wrote an essay for the Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 2 about the 2014 elections. In the essay, entitled “The South African Election of 2014: Retrospect and Prospect”, Southall examines the significant shift in the political landscape that occurred during this year’s election period.

At the forefront of his analysis is the fact that the African National Congress (ANC) is no longer the party of choice for the liberation movement. The Economic Freedom Flighters (EFF) under the leadership of Julius Malema have become the third official party while the Democratic Alliance (DA) continues to rise in the polls, Southall writes.

“There is much to be said for the ‘business as usual’ perspective on the 2014 elections,” Southall says. In the essay the author of Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa makes the following three points:

  • The foundations of the ANC’s vote are beginning to crumble
  • The DA will continue to garner support of the voters
  • The EFF has lent a new dimension to ‘third’ party politics

Have the ANC lost their mojo? Read the essay to find out:

The ANC: Defying expectations — but for how long?

The ANC entered the election against the background of opinion polls that suggested that it might be hauled back to just over 50 per cent of the vote. Widespread labour disputes, highlighted by the tragedy of Marikana (when police killed 44 striking mineworkers) and the long running strike on the platinum mines, combined with other depressing news to contribute to declining confidence in the economy. The death of Nelson Mandela in December 2013 symbolised for many the end of an era, reinforcing narratives that the ANC had lost its idealism, and had become the vehicle of a political class out of touch with its historic constituency amongst, notably, the poor. Indeed, a continuing high level of popular protests among communities around the country highlighted deep-seated discontent with government performance on the ground.

Book details

» read article

Video: Roger Southall Discusses The ANC and the Black Middle Class

Liberation Movements in PowerRoger Southall, the author of Liberation Movements in Power, presented a Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) seminar at the University of the Witwatersrand.

The Breakfast Seminars were intended to delve into politics in order to better understand South Africa at the present.

Southall’s topic was the ANC and the black middle class in South Africa. He says that he has never worked on a topic that people are so opinionated about.

The middle class is generally and traditionally understood to be a driver of democratic and economic growth. Southall critiques and complicates this assumption in the South African context.

Watch the videos:
YouTube Preview Image

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Book details

» read article

Roger Southall’s Liberation Movements in Power Addresses “Struggle Mentality”

Liberation Movements in PowerIn the context of President Jacob Zuma’s “irritated retort” in reaction to the term born-frees, Keith Somerville writes that books such as Roger Southall’s Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa should indicate to the ANC that their “right to rule” should not be taken for granted.

According to Somerville, with just over 600,000 South Africans born in 1994, and similar numbers the following two years, one-and-a-half million new voters could vote for this first time this year – “over 5% of the electorate”. Zuma’s annoyance at the term born-frees, Somerville says, is indicative of a worry that the ANC will not be able to take as given a vote from young South Africans who have never experienced apartheid.

There is ample recent literature, such as Roger Southall’s book, Liberation Movements in power: Party and State in Southern Africa, which addresses the mentality of “struggle” organizations and their assumption of a right to rule derived from their role in fighting minority rule, rather than realisation that they have to earn that right through delivering good governance and better living standards.

Book details

» read article

Roger Southall Co-writes Journal Article on “How and Why Zanu-PF Won the 2013 Zimbabwe Elections”

Liberation Movements in PowerRoger Southall, author of Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa, has written an article with Van Zyl Slabbert for the Strategic Review for Southern Africa, which is produced by the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria.

Read the article, titled “How and Why Zanu-PF Won the 2013 Zimbabwe Elections”:

In the March 2008 ‘harmonised’ elections in Zimbabwe,1) the Movement for Democratic Change (Tsvangirai) (MDC-T) scored the narrowest of victories over the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in the race for the House of Assembly, by 100 seats to 99, with the splinter Movement for Democratic Change (Mutumbara) (MDC-M) winning another 10 constituencies, with one more taken by an independent.2) In the Presidential race, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai outpaced incumbent Robert Mugabe, by officially taking 47.9 per cent of the poll compared to the latter’s 43.2 percent. However, the long delay of five weeks between the close of polls and the official announcement of the result implied strongly that the margin of difference between the two front-runners had actually been larger.

Book details

» read article

Roger Southall to Deliver WiSER Seminar on “Black and Middle Class in South Africa, 1910 – 1994″

Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern AfricaRoger Southall, author of Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa, will be delivering a Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research (WiSER) seminar titled “Black and Middle Class in South Africa, 1910 – 1994″ on Monday 14 October at 3 PM.

The paper for the seminar will be available on the Friday before the talk.

Dont miss it!

Event Details

Book Details

» read article

Roger Southall’s Liberation Movements in Power Launched with Dale McKinley and Noor Nieftagodien

Prof Roger Southall

Liberation Movements in PowerConsidering that it was held on the eve of a public holiday, the Thursday evening launch of Liberation Movements in Power by Prof Roger Southall was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters, academics and students.

Southall is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at Wits University and a research associate of the Society, Work and Development Institute. Guest speakers invited to give their impressions of the book were Professor Noor Nieftagodien, NRF Chair of Local Histories, Present Realities, and head of the History Workshop at Wits; and Dr Dale McKinley – analyst, writer, lecturer and political activist.

Southall described the work as a comparative evaluation of three liberation movements in Southern Africa who moved into government, namely the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) in Namibia; the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa; and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Zimbabwe. He outlined a few of the themes in the book.

Southall said that national liberation movements, once seen as the answer, are increasingly seen as the problem in Southern Arica. They are highly complex but also ambiguous at once emancipatory and repressive. Liberation Movement in Power examines the dominant ways in which liberation movements have been characterised through the notion of exclusive nationalism (We are The People) and the notion of them evolving into political machines. An analysis of liberation movements has to be rooted in the dynamics of settler colonialism, which was advanced but repressive, and politically rigid, Southall points out.

In all three of the movements featured in the book the political settlements resulted in liberal democracies with capitalist economies, a retreat from socialism and an emphasis on majority rule. Party states and party machines have been erected with a decline in ideology and rapid class formation.

The book concludes with the “slow death of the liberation movements”, as flawed organisations that threaten democracy. This does not refer to their defeat in elections, but their degeneration into the “party machine”.

Prof Noor Nieftagodien Dr Dale McKinley

In his discussion, McKinley described this as an important book. He maintained that the notion of majoritarianism is not the problem, but rather whether it is going to be inclusive and fair or exclusive and intolerant. He also addressed the corporate role in the national democratic revolution, saying that in fact we have a corporate state.

Nieftagodien chose to look at liberation movements with a historical eye and ask what lessons we can learn from them. He said that Southall’s employment of a comparative approach unsettles the notion of South African exceptionalism and allows us to look at the ambiguities the movements had to face. Southall’s approach demonstrates the complexities of each period and the external and internal factors that shaped the choices that were made. Nieftagodien admitted to being worried that the sub-title may have referred to a notion of the “failed state” and he was pleased that this is not the case as it would have limited the analysis.

Nieftagodien referred to an admission by Ronnie Kasrils that at the moment of transition South Africa looked to other revolutions and thought that the main aim was to seize state power and the rest would fall into place. A compromise was made with corporate power and the national democratic revolution has in fact become the tool of a small black elite, tied to political power.

However, Southall said that he avoided a radical approach in Liberation Movement in Power as it can lead to unrealistic expectations and ignores a basic point – we may not like multi-national corporations but we have to live with them.

Facebook gallery

Book details

» read article