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  • Zimbabwean Diamonds
  • Terence Ranger (bio)
Josiah Brownell, The Collapse of Rhodesia: population demographics and the politics of race. London: I. B. Tauris (hb £59.50 – 978 1 84885 475 8). 2010, 256 pp.
Jonathan Crush and Daniel Tevera (eds), Zimbabwe’s Exodus: crisis, migration, survival. Cape Town: South African Migration Programme (SAMP) (pb $35 – 978 1 92040 922 7). 2010, 432 pp.
David Mcdermott Hughes, Whiteness in Zimbabwe: race, landscape, and the problem of belonging. New York NY: Palgrave Macmillan (hb £55 – 978 0 23062 142 8). 2010, 224 pp.
Joann Mcgregor, Crossing the Zambezi: the politics of landscape on a Central African frontier. Oxford: James Currey (hb £50 – 978 1 84701 402 3). 2009, 256 pp.
Joann Mcgregor and Ranka Primorac (eds), Zimbabwe’s New Diaspora: displacement and the cultural politics of survival. Oxford: Berghahn (hb £47 – 978 1 84546 658 0). 2010, 268 pp.
Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Do ‘Zimbabweans’ Exist? Trajectories of nationalism, national identity formation and crisis in a postcolonial state. Bern: Peter Lang (hb £45 – 978 3 03911 941 7). 2009, 426 pp.
Deborah Potts, Circular Migration in Zimbabwe and Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. Woodbridge: James Currey (hb £50 – 978 1 84701 023 0). 2010, 312 pp.
Terence Ranger, Bulawayo Burning: the social history of a Southern African city, 1893–1960. Woodbridge: James Currey (hb £45 – 978 1 84701 020 9). 2010, 272 pp.
Zvakanyorwa Wilbert Sadomba, War Veterans in Zimbabwe’s Revolution: challenging neo-colonialism and settler and international capital. Woodbridge: James Currey (hb £40 – 978 1 84701 025 4). 2011, 256 pp. [End Page 649]
Timothy Scarnecchia, The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe: Harare and Highfield, 1940–1964. Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press (hb £45 – 978 1 58046 281 5). 2008, 240 pp.
Ian Scoones, Nelsonmarongwe, Blasiomavedzenge, Jacob Mahenehene, Felix Murimbarimba and Chrispen Sukume, Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: myths and realities. Woodbridge: James Currey (978 1 84701 024 7). 2010, 304 pp.
Blessing-Miles Tendi, Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: politics, intellectuals and the media. Bern: Peter Lang (pb £37 – 978 3 03911 989 9). 2010, 286 pp.
Katja Uusihakala, Memory Meanders: place, home and commemoration in an ex-Rhodesian diasporic community. Helsinki: University of Helsinki (978 9 52194 476 2). 2008, 264 pp.

Of the making of books about Zimbabwe there seems to be no end. I am commenting on thirteen of them in this review. It could easily have been twice that number if I had included all the journalist quick fixes, the inexplicably popular white Zimbabwean memoirs, and the necessary but short-lived accounts of the brutal violence of 2008. These will not be read for long but all the books I am reviewing are likely to have a long shelf-life. Indeed they are diamonds which need no international licence to be traded and consumed.

They fall neatly into clusters and taken together address all the dominant issues in Zimbabwe. Two of them – Ian Scoones’s edited collection and Wilbert Sadomba’s book about the occupation of land in the Mazowe Valley – deal with the process and results of fast-track land resettlement. Two of them – Timothy Scarnecchia’s book about the politics of the Salisbury African townships between 1940 and 1964, and Deborah Potts’s book about the fragility of African livelihoods in contemporary Harare – deal with the problem of the towns. (I shall invoke for comparative purposes but of course cannot review my own recent book on Bulawayo and its townships, 1893 to 1960.) Potts’s book interacts with a cluster about migration into and out of Zimbabwe – Josiah Brownell’s study of the demographic collapse of Rhodesia, Jonathan Crush and Daniel Tevera’s collection on the Zimbabwean diaspora, and JoAnn McGregor’s collection on Zimbabwean expatriates. Then there is a looser cluster about white identities and landscapes – a good deal in Brownell; David Hughes’s study of white Rhodesian identification with the land; Katja Uusihakala’s study of the continued significance of Rhodesian landscapes in the white expatriate South African community; and JoAnn [End Page 650] McGregor’s book about the politics of landscape in the Zambezi Valley. And if this cluster brings out all the uncertainties of Rhodesian identity...


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