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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The political lives of Rhodesian detainees during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle
Author:Munochiveyi, Munyaradzi Bryn
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:political prisoners
national liberation struggles
Abstract:In the wake of increasing African political activism in Rhodesia (present day's Zimbabwe), newly amended and legislated laws in the 1960s allowed Rhodesian authorities to impose detention orders on any persons who, in their opinion, posed a threat to the maintenance of law and order. Africans actively involved in nationalist political organizations or those suspected of actively supporting the struggle for liberation risked being detained as 'saboteures', 'agitators', or 'provocateurs'. This article explores the experiences of African political activists confined by Rhodesian authorities to remote and specially designated detention centres across Rhodesia from the early 1960s to 1979, notably Wha Wha detention camp, Gonakudzingwa detention camp, and Sikombela detention camp. The author argues that, far from being centres of isolation, the detention spaces failed in their objective to completely isolate and cut off the activists from the political world. The detainees were neither defenseless nor weak victims of Rhodesian repression. Resistance, in different ways, was key to their survival. Describing and analysing the ways in which detainees adapted to and coped with their detention environment by reorganizing the detention spaces and resisting isolation, the author suggests that they creatively negotiated significant say over the routines of their daily lives. Far from being spaces of social, political, or intellectual death, the detention camps were spaces where Rhodesian detainees constructed positive political lives and, as a result, remained relevant to the political struggle for liberation. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]