In Search of 'Community' in Zimbabwe's Fast Track Resettlement Area of Mazowe District

Mabel Hungwe

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


The thesis discusses community development in fast track resettlement areas of Zimbabwe. The land reform programme designated as the Third Revolution (Chimurenga) or fast track land reform was launched in 2000. This programme saw 12 million hectares of farming land being taken over by the state for resettlement. This research conducted in Mazowe district of Zimbabwe, provides an insight on the types and forms of community that have emerged as a result of the fast track land reform programme. Community is viewed both in terms of its geographical location and also interests among the actors that transcend the location.
The district surveyed, Mazowe, is about fifty kilometres from the capital city of Harare. There have been historical contestations in the district with regards to land. The district received the highest number of applications for land settlement due to its proximity to Harare, the fertility of the soils and the resources found in the area. Moreover, the district is located in a natural region that promotes high value crops and livestock. There is a diversity of ethnical groupings now found in the district as a result of the land reform programme. The face of the resettled farmer is mostly male as less than 12 percent of women benefitted from the fast track land reform programme in the district. The former farm workers who were left behind on the farms also did not benefit much from the programme.
The aim of the research is to understand community making in resettlement areas, by looking at two types of resettlement schemes covered by the fast track resettlement programme namely the A1 farming model featuring smallholder farmers under villagised settlement models and the A2 farming model which is aimed at creating a class of medium and large scale farmers.
The research employs a mixed methodological approach to understand community formation. A survey of 110 A1 farmers and 40 A2 farmers was carried out in the district. In addition, the survey held focused groups discussions at farm level among A1 farmers. To understand the socio-dynamics of communities that surround the resettlement areas, the survey also interviewed 110 farmers from the neighbouring Chiweshe Communal area. Additionally, the researcher employed other methodologies to allow for triangulation such as personal life stories and participant observations. The research identifies how behaviour both at individual and institutional level has had an effect on community formation in Mazowe district. The thesis draws on and further develops Hirschman’s (1970) typology of exit, loyalty and voice and a later version by Rusbult et al (1982) which adds aspects of neglect to the original typology – the ENLV model. Loyalty as seen in the context of the land resettlement programme, is expressed as individuals who remain on the land and attempt to succeed and/or create rules and institutions in a difficult environment. By contrast, there are some members of the resettlement areas that have been forced by powerful elements either to less productive farms or back to their original homes in variations of forced exit. In other respects exit is less physical when communities employ forms of resistance such as neglect. Communities are seen to adopt this form of behaviour when they neglect the environment, cultural practices and chose not to live by rules. Some members of the communities have employed forms of voice to inform government of corrupt tendencies at local level and to report what is not working in resettlement areas. But for voice to be effective it requires collective action which was lacking in Mazowe. At a general level, the thesis finds that the existing formulations of the typology are insufficient when addressing the types of behaviour and community formation that is occurring in situations of uncertainty and decline such as those found in the fast track resettlement area, where insecurity of tenure exerts a strong influence on the farmers. Moreover, individuals in Mazowe do not necessarily stay within the same behavioural type. In some cases they oscillate between different behaviours depending on circumstance. More specifically, the research identifies and analyses a further behavioural option, that of innovation. It states that despite decline and bleak circumstances, some people can chose to look beyond the negative and innovate so as to improve their situation. In some situations in Mazowe, innovation has led to new forms of social networks emerging. The thesis reformulates the ENLV model further through adding the aspect of innovation and in this way contributes to the theoretical understanding of community behaviour and formation.
Tilldelande institution
  • Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi
  • Andersson Djurfeldt, Agnes, handledare
  • Jirström, Magnus, handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2011 dec 9
Tryckta ISBN978-91-979006-3-8
StatusPublished - 2011

Bibliografisk information

Defence details
Date: 2011-12-09
Time: 10:15
Place: sal 111 (Världen), Geocentrum I, Sölvegatan 10, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Scoones, Ian
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Kulturgeografi


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