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SheMurenga: The Zimbabwean Women's Movement 1995-2000

Shereen Essof

Publication Year: 2013

This book demonstrates the place of womenís movements during a defining period of contemporary Zimbabwe. The government of Robert Mugabe may have been as firmly in power in 2000 as it was in 1995, but the intervening years saw severe economic crisis, mass strikes and protests, the start of land occupations, intervention in the war in the DRC, and the rise of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Shereen Essof shows how Zimbabwean women crafted responses to these and other events, and aimed for a feminist agenda that would prioritise the interests of the rural and urban poor. Rejecting both the strictures of patriarchy and the orthodoxies of established feminism, she demands that Zimbabweís women be heard in their own voices and in their own contexts. In doing so she writes a book that combines scholarly integrity with a wild, joyous cry for liberation.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Note, Copyright. About the Author

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: A Glimpse on the Ground

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pp. ix-13

On 8 February 2001 representatives from the Zimbabwean Women’s Movement gathered at the popular leftist venue, the Book Café, in Harare to try and answer the question: ‘Does Zimbabwe have a women’s movement?’ As the meeting pro-gressed, I became intrigued by the spectrum of views that embodied the debate. Some questioned whether Zimbabwean women’s organising actually consti-...

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Chapter 1: Women’s Movement Literature: Pushing the Boundaries

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pp. 1-7

Historically, Western feminists largely initiated the contemporary interest and subsequent writing on women’s movements in the 1960s.1 The initial body of work aimed to recover the hidden history of female activism in the North, whilst suggesting that women’s political involvement was of a distinctive character and...

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Chapter 2: Epistemological Tensions Methodological Considerations

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pp. 8-18

I have already illustrated the paucity of a comprehensive literature on women’s organising in a post-colonial context. Thus it is expedient and easy to make the urgent call for more work on women in Africa, by African women, to serve our agendas. But what are the epistemological and methodological challenges in operationalising this call?...

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Chapter 3: The National Context

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pp. 19-31

My research unfolded against the backdrop of one of the most trying and exciting times in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe. Towards the middle of my research process, I found myself writing:
Zimbabwe is a truly beautiful place going through ‘harsh economic times’. The reality of this very common sound bite translates into a nightmare of harrowing proportions...

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Chapter 4: Zimbabwe Women’s Organising 1980-1995

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pp. 32-42

In this chapter I intend to give a history of the Zimbabwe women’s movement from independence in 1980 through to 1995. In this way I hope to set the stage for an in-depth examination of the period under review and build a basis for further discussion and analysis...

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Chapter 5: Land, Laws and Votes for Women

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pp. 43-64

By the mid-1990s it was clear that gender concerns were incidental in the mindset of the Zimbabwean government. While the lethargy of land redistribution remained a thorn in the side of the nation, for women the dream of having access to and control over land and allied resources was rapidly evaporating, as traditional forms of social organisation and values were implicated in complex...

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Chapter 6: Theoretical Challenges; Implications for the Movement

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pp. 65-80

I began this study with two objectives: to reconstruct a herstory of Zimbabwean women’s collective action, and to examine the nature of this endeavour during the period 1995-2000. The construction of the scenario realises my first objective and significantly challenges malestream narratives that seem intent on disappearing women.225 I turn therefore to my second objective. Here I will attempt


Appendix 1: Snapshot of the Period (1995 – 2000)

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pp. 83-90

Appendix 2: Women Conversants

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pp. 91-94

Appendix 3: Bibliography

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pp. 95-100

Appendix 4: Supplementary Material: The Zimbabwe Women’s Charter

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pp. 101-109

Back Cover

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p. 124-124

E-ISBN-13: 9781779222206
Print-ISBN-13: 9781779222145

Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2013