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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Changing Landscape and Oral Memory in South-Central Zimbabwe: Towards a Historical Geography of Chishanga, c. 1850-1990
Author:Mazarire, Gerald C.
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
oral history
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3557438
Abstract:'Chishanga' is the term used by many to refer to a geographical area lying c. 40 km southeast of the modern city of Masvingo, Zimbabwe. But when this landscape is called 'Chishanga', the word also summons up complex historical associations. 'Chishanga' has always been a term of contestation, referring to a stretch of ground across which struggles for authority, power and identity have taken place. In tracking these struggles using oral history techniques, this paper draws attention to the fallacies of a chiefdom-based appraoch to precolonial African history. The paper assesses the impact of all the changes in Chishanga on the ways in which the people of Chishanga perceive their past. Memory is an essential tool for the reconstruction of any past, and yet we know that the way we recollect our past is a product of the society in which we live. As society changes, so does memory. The paper contends that the history of Chishanga is embedded in its material landscape and the way in which it is represented, and thus, that a thorough understanding of the changes in Chishanga's 'real' and imagined geography is necessary for any accurate treatment of its political, social and economic history. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]