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Archive for the ‘Zimbabwe’ Category

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.

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Launch of Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa by Roger Southall

Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern AfricaUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal Press and the University of the Witwatersrand cordially invite you to the launch of Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa by Roger Southall.

Southall will be in conversation with Professor Noor Nieftagodien and Dr Dale McKinley on Thursday 8 August at 5:30 PM for 6 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 08 August 2013
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Wits Faculty of Humanities,
    East Campus
    South West Engineering Building
    Ground Floor – Atrium | Map
  • Guest Speakers: Noor Nieftagodien and Dale McKinley
  • RSVP: 033 260 5226

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Introducing Roger Southall’s Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa

Liberation Movements in PowerNew from UKZN Press, Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa by Roger Southall:

The liberation movements of Southern Africa arose to combat racism, colonialism and settler capitalism and engaged in armed struggle to establish democracy. After victory over colonial and white minority regimes, they moved into government embodying the hopes and aspirations of their mass of supporters and of widespread international solidarity movements. Even with the difficult legacies they inherited, their performance in power has been deeply disappointing.

Roger Southall tracks the experiences in government of ZANU-PF, SWAPO and the ANC, arguing that such movements are characterised by paradoxical qualities, both emancipatory and authoritarian. Analysis is offered of their evolution into political machines through comparative review of their electoral performance, their relation to state and society, their policies regarding economic transformation, and their evolution as vehicles of class formation and predatory behaviour.

The author concludes that, while they will survive organizationally, their essence as progressive forces is dying, and that hopes of a genuine liberation throughout the region will depend upon political realignments alongside moral and intellectual regeneration.

About the author

Roger Southall is Professor Emeritus in Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand and a Research Associate of the Society, Work and Development Institute.

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Excerpt from Polarization and Transformation in Zimbabwe by Erin McCandless

Polarization and Transformation in ZimbabweUKZN Press has shared an excerpt from Polarization and Transformation in Zimbabwe: The Counter-Movement for Land Redistribution and Constitutional Change by Erin McCandless. In the excerpt polarization in Zimbabwe is broken down into a few concepts and the aims of the book are discussed.

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Sean Christie Interviews John Eppel About the Changing Reactions to His Work

TogetherSean Christie from the Mail & Guardian visited John Eppel at his home in Bulawayo. They discussed the changing reactions towards Eppel’s satire, which has been resonating with younger Zimbabwean writers.

Christie suggests that this may be partially because “the targets of Eppel’s satire — Zimbabwe’s rapacious ruling elite — had become such living grotesques that Eppel’s caricatures could not have failed to resonate widely”.

Given the exotic flowers in his oeuvre, especially in the poems, it is surprising to find John Eppel’s garden in the crackle-dry suburb of Hillside, Bulawayo, dominated by the indigenous Portulaca hereroensis. This fast-growing fleshy plant has all but devoured the property’s steel strand perimeter fence, and seems bent on taking Eppel’s ramshackle (his word) home too.

That’s a mild exaggeration. The effect of the portulaca is more insulation than threat — protection from the outside world. And one soon learns not to make light of botanical matters in Eppel’s company. The 65-year-old writer was in his kitchen breaking a chocolate bar into a bowl when I brought up a controversial new book on white identity in Zimbabwe by the American anthropologist David Hughes.

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The Scope for Health Care Reform Examined in Universal Health in Southern Africa

Universal Health in Southern AfricaUniversal Health in Southern Africa examines the scope for health care reform in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Both countries are undergoing significant attempts at reforming inequitable, private sector-dominated health care systems in the context of fragile, negotiated social settlements.

In South Africa, the government is moving towards introducing a national health insurance scheme that holds the historic promise of introducing social solidarity and effective health care for all its citizens. However, key aspects of the proposed scheme remain unresolved and need to be widely debated. In Zimbabwe, mandatory national health insurance has been discussed for decades without any conclusion being reached or a system implemented. This option needs to be revisited as the economy stabilises and confidence in governance improves.

Based on extensive research, the contributors to this volume examine health care reform in historical context, analyse the views of key stakeholders and reflect on current proposals for better health financing and more people-centred health systems based on the principles of universality and social solidarity.

Universal Health in Southern Africa is essential reading for academics, health professionals and policy makers concerned with the historical, ideological and institutional background to the current policy debate on the commercialisation of health care and proposed alternatives such as a national health system.

About the editors

Greg Ruiters is professor of governance and public policy at the University of the Western Cape and co-director of the Municipal Services Project.

Robert van Niekerk is professor of social policy and director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University.

Contributors: Yoswa M Dambisya • Shorai Jasi • Rene Loewenson • Aulline Mabika • Rangarirai Machemedze • Di McIntyre • Sehlapelo Irene Mokgoatsane • Elijah Munyuki • Shepherd Shamu

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First Anniversary of Julius Chingono’s Death Commemorated

Together2 January 2012 marked the first anniversary of the death of Julius Chingono, co-author of the short story collection Together. On 9 February 2012, the Embassy of Spain in Zimbabwe hosted an event to pay homage to this courageous writer, who was detained in 2009 for reciting his poem “My Uniform”, about corruption in the police force. The Spanish Ambassador, Pilar Fuertes Ferragut, was a personal friend of Chingono and felt that he needed to be honoured in this way. The Financial Gazette reported on the event:

THE Embassy of Spain yesterday hosted an event to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of one of Zimbabwe’s great poets, Julius Chingono.

The event, held in the Theatre in the Park in the Harare Gardens, was attended by family and friends of the late author and dignitaries from a cross-section of the Zimba-bwean society and other invited guests.

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Erin McCandless Examines Transformation and Development in Zimbabwe

Polarization and Transformation in ZimbabweThe Solidarity Peace Trust invites you to read a short paper by peacebuilding and development specialist Erin McCandless in which she presents some of the findings revealed in her recently published book, Polarization and Transformation in Zimbabwe: The Counter-Movement for Land Redistribution and Constitutional Change:

It is common and understandable for people living in divided or developing countries to tire of international researchers coming to examine their plight, observing their situation from particular disciplinary and/or experiential lenses, often rapidly assessing the situation after a short period in the country and after speaking with a limited number of people. They often don’t share the fruits of their labour with the society that hosted them.

Having lived in Zimbabwe (January 2001-June 2004) where I conducted my doctoral field research, followed by numerous trips back to the region in the years that have followed, I am finally publishing a book. I am guilty of taking a long time in sharing findings; like most doctoral students, I had to make a living in the interim and the book was put on the back burner. But my belief in the importance of these issues that drove my research ensured that I kept coming back to Zimbabwe.[1] In this short paper I want to present some of the findings of my forthcoming book – Polarization and Transformation: Social Movements, Strategy Dilemmas and Change. I also want to share my motives and assumptions that drove the research, and my thoughts on why I think Zimbabwe’s challenges matter greatly to a larger international audience, beyond the powerful forces focused on regime change.

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Erin McCandless Investigates Political Dilemmas in Polarization and Transformation in Zimbabwe

Polarization and Transformation in ZimbabweUKZN Press is proud to announce the publication of a new title, Polarization and Transformation in Zimbabwe: The Counter-Movement for Land Redistribution and Constitutional Change by Erin McCandless:

Social movements and civic organizations often face profound strategy dilemmas that can hamper their effectiveness and prevent them from contributing to transformative change and peace. In Zimbabwe two particular dilemmas have fed into and fueled destructive processes of political polarization – dividing society, leadership, and decision-makers well beyond its borders.

As conceptualized in this study, the first is whether to prioritize political or economic rights in efforts to bring about transformative change (rights / redistribution). The second is whether and how to work with government and/or donors given their political, economic, and social agendas (participation / resistance). This book investigates these issues through two social movement organizations – the National Constitutional Assembly and the Zimbabwe National War Veterans’ Association – and the movements they led to achieve constitutional change and radical land redistribution. Through in-depth case study analysis and peace and conflict impact assessment spanning the years 1997-2010, lessons are drawn for activists, practitioners, policy-makers, and scholars interested in depolarizing concepts underpinning polarizing discourses, transcending strategy dilemmas, and understanding how social action can better contribute to transformative change and peace.

“This book provides rich empirical details on the competing narratives regarding the evolution of Zimbabwe’s social movements since the social crisis . . . resulting from the negative economic impacts of neoliberal policies adopted in 1990. It tracks the emergence of counter social movements mainly since the escalation of domestic political polarization over constitutional reform in 2000, and the subsequent confrontations between the Zimbabwe state (in alliance with land movements) and international capital (in alliance with key governance reform NGOs).”
Sam Moyo, Executive Director of African Institute for Agrarian Studies; President of CODESRIA

About the author

Erin McCandless is a part-time faculty member of the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School for General Studies, New York. She is the founder and co-executive editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development.

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Ambrose Musiyiwa Interviews John Eppel, Author of Together

TogetherAmbrose Musiyiwa interviewed John Eppel, an award-winning writer who published his latest book, Together, a collection of short stories and poems written together with the late Julius Chingono, earlier this year.

Eppel says Together is different from anything else he’s ever written, because it’s a book by two elderly Zimbabweans who come from different racial, cultural and regional backgrounds:

How would you describe Together?

My latest book, Together, is a joint affair, combining poems and short stories by Julius Chingono and me; so it’s our latest book – a poignant phrase since Julius did not live to see it in print.

I wrote my portion of the book in 2008. Since I was earning almost nothing as a teacher, I applied for a year’s leave, and wrote three books: a novel, Absent: the English Teacher, a collection of short stories, White Man Walking, and a collection of poems, Landlocked. I sent them to Weaver Press who accepted the novel but rejected the poems and short stories. It was from these rejected items that my contribution to Together was made.

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