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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Urban migrants and religious networks: Malawians in colonial Salisbury, 1920 to 1970
Author:Groves, ZoŽISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic terms:Malawi
Subjects:labour migration
urban history
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2012.707507
Abstract:Non-indigenous migrants dominated the African population of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia's capital city, until the mid-1950s. 'Nyasa' labour migrants (from British colonial Nyasaland, now Malawi) enriched urban popular culture and played a major role in the development of the country's industrial and rural economies. Despite this, people of Malawian origin have been marginalized from political life during both the colonial and postcolonial periods, and neglected in Zimbabwe's urban historiography. This article foregrounds 'Nyasa' migrants in the city, highlighting three of their religious expressions that emerged in Salisbury and became a prominent feature of the city's urban culture and religious landscape. The 'Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian' (CCAP), Yao or 'Chawa' Muslim associations and the 'Nyau' society became well established in colonial Salisbury and continue to be associated with people of Malawian ancestry in contemporary Harare. These religious groups played a role in the construction of new urban identities and helped migrants to create a sense of belonging in the city particularly during periods of rapid urbanization and political change. 'Nyasa' labour migrants were among the first Africans to work and settle in Salisbury during the colonial period, and many used religious networks to establish themselves within new urban communities. However, despite the longevity and depth of their commitment to urban life in Salisbury (and later Harare) these migrants have been targeted by exclusionary State policies at moments of political and economic crisis, during both the colonial period and since 2000. The Zimbabwean government's selective accounts of national identity ignore these histories of migration and marginalize important minority groups because they lack cultural ties to the land, despite their central role in the shaping of Zimbabwe's cities. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]