Event Flyer

Girvetz 2320 or via zoom at this link

Speaker: Mhoze Chikowero Chiwashira, History Department & Africa Center, UCSB

Discussant: Professor Nyasha Mboti, University of the Free State

To receive pre-circulated paper email: chikowero@history.ucsb.edu or markmakukutsi@ucsb.edu

The history of colonialism is a history of shit--matuzvi. This book, Matuzviadonha: African Chiefs, Resistance and the Political Economy of Sustainable Colonialism in Zimbabwe, 1890s-1920s, documents two hitherto under-researched and ill-theorized dimensions of a most important event in Zimbabwe’s recent history: the 1896-1902 Chimurenga--the African self-liberation war against Cecil John Rhodes and his British-led colonizers’ entrenching regime and, beyond the gun, the even more silenced, everyday postwar resistance against a system that subsisted on turning humans into waste. To most effectively prosecute this agenda of decomposing African humanity in order to fertilize self-sustaining, hyper-exploitation and oppression, the colonizers targeted African self-governance at its core, politically disarming their madzimambo (kings, madzishe), and re-engineering them into their constabulary functionaries. Africans fought back, bogging down the system in significant ways, even as many acquiesced, participated in, and abetted it early on, thus becoming zvitutamangoro--shit pushers/stooges. Matuzviadonha captures this doubly articulated tumbling of shit. The underlining concept, matuzviadonha, means the shit has fallen--an epistemology of triumphalism and awe that Madzimbabwe immortalized in the imposing mountain range that slopes north into the Kasambabezi Valley, and both are storied and unruly ecologies in the tenacious African struggle for self-liberation from this regime of colonial enslavement and pillage. There and elsewhere, Africans beat the shit out of the colonizers, reshaping their future in significant ways. This particular chapter (3 of 8), trains critical forensics onto the workings of unleashed hudzviti--the colonial terrorism that built the Rhodesian economy out of African blood and sweat. It reads Native Commissioners--vanamudzviti--as the personification of colonial epistemicide and terrorism, deconstructing their reification as primarily sources of knowledge on African society, or as some kind of trustees over the natived Africans.