Modernity and ethnicity in a frontier society: understanding difference in Northwestern Zimbabwe

Alexander, Jocelyn and McGregor, JoAnn (1997) Modernity and ethnicity in a frontier society: understanding difference in Northwestern Zimbabwe. Journal of Southern African Studies, 23 (2). pp. 187-201. ISSN 0305-7070

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

This article builds on Terence Ranger's pioneering work on Ndebele identity through an exploration of the everyday politics of naming as it occurred in the context of forced evictions into the remote Shangani Reserve after World War Two. We argue that day to day interactions were critical in shaping the content of Ndebele identity. Evictees, whose communities and structures of leadership were systematically broken up by an administration intent on suppressing political activism, were nonetheless the principle agents in this process. They defined themselves as modern and Ndebele, and sought to establish their superiority over communities they encountered in the Shangani by asserting the moral weight of a civilising mission, and drawing on notions of hierarchy drawn from the nineteenth century Ndebele state. The colonial transformation of pre-colonial identities took the form of reinscribing old names with new significance. These names, though often dating from the nineteenth century and often 'tribal' in origin, conveyed ideas about status associated with twentieth century notions of modernity and primitiveness.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Nadya Herrera Catalan
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2015 07:30
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2015 07:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52804
📧 Request an update