The Unbearable Whiteness of Being


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The history of colonial land alienation, the grievances fuelling the liberation war, and post-independence land reforms have all been grist to the mill of recent scholarship on Zimbabwe. Yet for all that the country�s white farmers have received considerable attention from academics and journalists, the fact that they have always played a dynamic role in cataloguing and representing their own affairs has gone unremarked. It is this crucial dimension that Rory Pilossof explores in The Unbearable Whiteness of Being. His examination of farmers� voices � in The Farmer magazine, in memoirs, and in recent interviews � reveals continuities as well as breaks in their relationships with land, belonging and race. His focus on the Liberation War, Operation Gukurahundi and the post-2000 land invasions frames a nuanced understanding of how white farmers engaged with the land and its peoples, and the political changes of the past 40 years. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being helps to explain why many of the events in the countryside unfolded in the ways they did.



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Date de parution 24 avril 2012
Nombre de visites sur la page 1
EAN13 9781779222596
Langue English

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The Unbearable Whiteness of Being
The Unbearable Whiteness of Being
Published in Zimbabwe by Weaver Press PO Box A1922 Avondale, Harare Zimbabwe
Published in South Africa by UCT Press an imprint of Juta and Co. Ltd 1st Floor, Sundare Building 21 Dreyer Street, Claremont 7708 South Africa
© Rory Pilossof, 2012
Cover: Danes Design, Harare Cover photo: David Brazier Typeset by forzalibro designs Printed by Academic Press, Cape Town
All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without the express written permission of the publisher
ISBN 978-1-77922-169-8 (Zimbabwe) ISBN 978-1-92409-997-6 (South Africa)
Acknowledgements List of Acronyms List of Tables, Map & Appendices A Note on Currency Foreword
Introduction Why the Voices of White Farmers?
1 White Farmers & Their Representatives, 1890–2000
2 No Country for White Men White Farmers, the Fast-Track Land Reforms &Jambanja, 2000–2004
3 Discourses of Apoliticism inThe Farmer
4 Discursive Thresholds & Episodes of Crisis The Liberation War, Gukurahundi & the Land Occupations
5 The Consolidation of Voice White Farmers’ Autobiographies & The Narration of Experience after 2000
6 ‘Orphans of Empire’ Oral Expressions of Displacement & Trauma
Appendices Bibliography Index Epigraph
The research, writing and completion of this book has been aided by a community of people and institutions to whom a great deal of gratitude is extended. By far the largest proportion of that thanks is reserved for Professor Ian Phimister. It is no overstatement to say that without his support, guidance and counsel, which have been ever-present right from my undergraduate years at the University of Cape Town, I would not have had the opportunity to undertake the research necessary to produce this book. The generous financial support of several institutions has made this book possible. Firstly, I am hugely grateful to the Overseas Research Studentship, and the University of Sheffield Studentship. I also received grants from the Beit Trust Emergency Support Fund, the Royal Historical Society Research Funding and The Petrie Watson Exhibition. Justice for Agriculture generously allowed me access to their interview archive. The Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe were also helpful in allowing me to consult their collection ofThe FarmerFurthermore, thanks must go the Research and Advocacy Unit who gave me the magazine. opportunity to explore the stories of white farmers in Zimbabwe. In Oxford, the Rhodes House Library provided invaluable access to other records and secondary sources.Chapter 2draws on an article first published in theJournal of Developing Societies(26: 71-97, March 2010). My thanks are also extended to all the farmers I interviewed and talked to in the process of my research. Many spoke of personal traumas and events that were difficult to relate, and their courage is exemplary. Many others have helped me through the last three years. Special mention must go to Gary Rivett, who provided not only much needed intellectual stimulation, but ready and welcome relief from my research. He has contributed in so many ways to the creation and completion of this book and I thank him dearly for his companionship. I must also thank Miles Larmer, Mike Rook, Felicity Wood, Ben Purcell Gilpin, Alois Mlambo, Tony Reeler, Simon de Swardt, Jonathan Saha, Rachel Johnson, Charles Laurie and Andrew Iliff for their help and assistance. Weaver Press, and Murray McCartney in particular, have been a pleasure to work with and their input and attention to detail has vastly improved the book before you. I also want to thank my family, Ray and Jayne Pilossof and Shane Samten Drime “Billy-the-Lionsblood” Pilossof, for humouring me through this process. And Boo, for all the sacrifices and trying to understand. Lastly, I would like to thank Lance van Sittert, without whose inspiration and mentorship this journey would never have taken place.
List of Acronyms
CCJPZ Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe CFU Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe CIO Central Intelligence Organisation COHRE Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions CZC Crisis in Zimbabwe Collation ESAP Economic Structural Adjustment Programme EU European Union GAPWUZ General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe ICG International Crisis Group IMF International Monetary Fund IPFP Inception Phase Framework Plan JAG Justice for Agriculture MDC Movement for Democratic Change MFP Modern Farming Publications Trust Trust MFU Matabeleland Farmers’ Union NCA National Constitutional Assembly NCC National Constitutional Commission NLHA Native Land Husbandry Act RAU Research and Advocacy Unit RF Rhodesian Front RNFU Rhodesian National Farmers’ Union RTA Rhodesian Tobacco Association SI6 Statutory Instrument 6 TRC Truth and Reconciliation Commission UDI Unilateral Declaration of Independence UNDP United Nations Development Programme WB World Bank ZANLA Zimbabwe National Liberation Army ZANU Zimbabwe African National Union ZANU-PF Zimbabwe African National Union –Patriotic Front ZAPU Zimbabwe African People’s Union ZCTU Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions ZIPRA Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army ZJRI Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative ZNLWVA Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association ZTA Zimbabwe Tobacco Assocation
List ofTables and Map 1.1 The number of registered commercial farms by CFU administrative province in 2000 1.2 Number of farms and acreage cultivated in Rhodesia, 1904–1922 2.1 Number of farm ‘invasions’ per province in Zimbabwe 3.1 Tag lines ofTheFarmer, 1942–1982 3.2 Editors ofThe Farmer, 1966–2002
Map of Zimbabwe
List of Appendices 1 The organisational structure and past presidents of the CFU 2 Land use on large commercial farms, 1970-99 3 Summary of major crop sales in Z$ millions, 1970–99 4 The number and total area of large-scale farms, 1970–99 5 White farmers killed in 1964–79, 1981–87, and 2000–04 6 Date of purchase of properties in the 1997 acquisition list 7 Biographical data on white farmers interviewed