Professor Richard Mtisi will present his paper, "'They promised that the fences would be torn down' Nationalist Politics and the Struggle over Natural Resources in Southeastern Zimbabwe, 1960s-1970s" at Macalester College Monday, December 2.
His presentation answers the question, "Where did Zimbabweans find resources when colonial Rhodesian officials drove them from their homes in order to create game reserves? A prominent nationalist leader of Zimbabwe’s anti-colonial struggle, Joshua Nkomo, gained widespread support in southeastern Zimbabwe, by answering this very question. Nkomo emphasized regional issues involving land and environment, rather than the national independence that scholars have usually emphasized. The majority of the villagers backed Nkomo and the subsequent armed struggle that broke out in the mid-1970s because they saw their support as an opportunity to eliminate the constraints that local colonial functionaries had imposed on their access to vital livelihood practices. Seeing the anti-colonialist struggle from the perspective of those people from whom nationalists sought assistance advances our understanding of the nationalist struggle in Zimbabwe, a struggle that shapes Zimbabwean society and politics today."