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Title:A Threat to the Nation and a Threat to the Men: The Banning of Depo-Provera in Zimbabwe, 1981
Author:Kaler, AmyISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:24
Issue:2
Period:June
Pages:347-376
Language:English
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:population policy
contraception
Health and Nutrition
Women's Issues
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
Family Planning and Contraception
Historical/Biographical
Fertility and Infertility
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637531
Abstract:In 1981, the new government of Zimbabwe banned the use of the injectible contraceptive Depo-Provera. This article tries to explain the particular heat that the Depo-Provera controversy generated in the country. Drawing on archival research in English and Shona, and on retrospective interviews with former family planning workers and middle-aged and elderly Zimbabweans from Wedza and Buhera Districts conducted in 1996, the author demonstrates that the history of fertility regulation in general, and Depo-Provera in particular, led to the construction of Zimbabwean women's reproductive abilities as terrains of struggle between different groups of political interests. Depo-Provera was constructed by Africans as a form of medical colonization of African women's bodies and as a weapon for cutting down the African nation. At the same time, it was associated with 'subversive' conduct by women. The prohibition of Depo-Provera must be seen both as an act of nationalist self-assertion by the newly victorious majority government under ZANU (PF) and also as a significant moment in the gendered politics of reproduction in Zimbabwe. Notes, ref., sum.
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