Relationality and Resilience in a Not So Relational World?
366 Pages
English
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Relationality and Resilience in a Not So Relational World?

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Gain access to the library to view online
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366 Pages
English

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This book critically examines the relevance of the increasingly popular theories on relationality by interfacing those theories with the African [Shona] modes of engagement known as chivanhu [often erroneously narrowly translated as tradition]. In other words, the book takes seriously concerns by African scholars that much of the theories that have been applied in Africa do not speak to relevance and faithfulness to the continent. Situated in a recent Zimbabwean context marked by multiple crises producing multiple forms of violence and want, the book examines the relevance of relational ontologies and epistemologies to the everyday life modes of engagements by villagers in a selected district. The book unflinchingly surfaces the strengths and weaknesses of popular theories while at the same time underlining the exigencies of theorising from Africa using African data as the millstones. By meticulously and painstakingly unpacking pertinent issues, the book provides unparalleled intellectual grit for the contemporary and increasingly popular discourses on (de-)coloniality and resilience in relation to the African peoples and their [often deliberately contested] environments, past, present and future. In other words, the book loudly sounds the bells for the battles to decolonise and transform Africa on Africa's own terms. This is a book that would be extremely useful to scholars, activists, theorists, policy makers and implementers as well as researchers interested not only in Africa's future trajectory but also in the simultaneities of temporalities and worlds that were sadly overshadowed by colonial epistemologies and ontologies for the past centuries.

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Published 08 March 2017
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EAN13 9789956764303
Language English
Document size 3 MB

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Relationality and Resilience in a Not So Relational World? Knowledge, Chivanhu and (De-)Coloniality in 21st Century Conflict-Torn Zimbabwe Artwell Nhemachena
Relationality and Resilience in a Not So Relational World? Knowledge,Chivanhuand st (De-)Coloniality in 21 Century Conflict-Torn Zimbabwe Artwell Nhemachena L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher:LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.com www.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com
ISBN-10: 9956-764-29-9
ISBN-13: 978-9956-764-29-7 ©Artwell Nhemachena 2017All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Table of contents Acknowledgements..............................................................................v Abstract..................................................................................................vii Introduction and background: on matters of violence and resilience...........................................1Chivanhu and modes of resilience.....................................................28 Theoretical/conceptual frameworks................................................. 37 Chapter Outlines.................................................................................. 46 Chapter One: Resilience or Sacrifice? Droughts and Knowledge Translation........................................49 The Worlds, entities and knowledge practices related to droughts and rains.............................................................. 59 Conclusion.............................................................................................80 Chapter Two: The Mhepo, Mweya and Ruzivo: Knowing, Sensing and Resilience................................83Brief notes on violence and matters of knowledge........................ 97 Prophecies, dreaming and divination................................................ 102 Witchcraft-related violence................................................................. 114 Ruzivo and resilience........................................................................... 119 Chapter Three: Ethics Beyond Bodies? Ukama, Violence and Resilience................................................. 129 Brief notes on politics and violence in Zimbabwe..........................141 Ukama, mhepo and mweya................................................................ 146 Ukama: the coloniality of violence.................................................... 170 A return to a few key issues................................................................ 183 Chapter Four: On Economies of Kutenda: Agency, Action and Resilience Against Economic Adversities......................................................................189 A brief look at economic challenges................................................. 203
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Agency, Action and Openness? resilience in everyday life economies.................................................206 Kutenda..................................................................................................223 Chapter Five: Sensing Presences? Health, Illness and Resilience.......................................................243 Some brief notes on health and survival during the crisis............. 251 Manifestations, comings and goings of everyday life..................... 254 (Hau)ontology: making sense of dreams, divination and prophecies...................................................................................... 263 A return to a few key issues about presences Absences................................................................................................ 273 Conclusion...........................................................................................279Glossary of terms............................................................................... 303 Bibliography........................................................................................307
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Acknowledgements My most sincere gratitude goes to Associate Professor Lesley Green (University of Cape Town) and Professor Fiona C Ross (University of Cape Town) for mentorship. To Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh, my Head of Department during PhD studies, I also say thank you for the encouragement, to become a robust African scholar, and for mentorship throughout. I would like to thank the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Eric Abrahams International/ Refugee Scholarship for funding research leading to this book. I also thank the University of Cape Town; Chantel Reed and Anne Wegerhof at the University of Cape Town for the professional services they offered during my studies for Ph.D. My thanks also go to the villagers in Buhera District and fellow church members with whom I have journeyed and from whom I have learnt a lot over the time. To my fellow, Joshua Ben Cohen, with whom I have travelled all the way from the start of my PhD study and from whom I have learnt a lot also, I say thank you. The walks we had up the Table Mountain, and in the forests on the mountain slopes; the visits to the sea and the stories we shared all contributed to my latent curriculum. I would not want to forget Professor Munyaradzi Mawere, a fellow PhD student and Zimbabwean who has always encouraged me to write and publish as much as possible. My thanks also go to my wife Esther Dhakwa-Nhemachena for all her support to me and to our children during the journey of studying, the intellectual, emotional and financial exactions thereof I initially underestimated. I say thank you for all the support; you have always been a wife and a half. I would also want to thank Gisele Morin-Labatut for assisting with some copy-editing of this book.
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Abstract This book explores the resilience of villagers in a district within Manicaland province of Zimbabwe that was afflicted by violence particularly from the year 2000. The province was marked by conflicts partly resulting from the expropriation of farms from white farmers, by interparty violence, interpersonal violence, witchcraft related violence. There was also structural violence emanating from sanctions imposed by Euro-American countries on the country as well as the after effects of Bretton Woods institutions-imposed neoliberal economic reforms. Thus, the period posed immense challenges to life and limb. Yet institutions of welfare, security and law enforcement were not equal to the task of ensuring survival necessitating questions about the sufficiency of [colonially] established institutions of law enforcement, media, politics, economy and health in guaranteeing survival in moments of want. What modes of resilience villagers deployed in the contexts of immense want, acute shortages of cash, basic commodities, formal unemployment levels of over ninety per cent, hyperinflation which in 2008 reached over 231 million per cent, and direct physical violence is cause for wonder for scholarship on everyday life. Based on ethnographic data gathered over a period of fifteen months, this book interrogates villagers’ modes of resilience in the context of the challenges: it explores matters of knowing and ontology with respect to chivanhu, a mode of engagement which has been narrowly understood as ‘tradition’ of the Shona people. It explores how aspects of chivanhu such as kukumbira (to request or petition), mhepo/mweya (wind/air) and ruzivo (knowledge), ukama (relationships of interdependence), kutenda (to thank) as well as sensing/feeling (kunzwa) played out in the modes of resilience among the villagers. Having been marginalized and subalternised due to emphasis, during the colonial era, on Western epistemologies, the modes of knowing and resilience under chivanhu have not seen much resurgence and official recognition in spite of the revalorization of ‘indigenous’ knowledge in other realms of life. Engaging scholarship arguing for decolonization of subalternised knowledge and also
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critically engaging scholarship on relational ontologies, the book interfaces chivanhu and some tenets of the relational ontologies as a way to see ways in which they speak to each other. In this way it endeavours to tease out ways in which aspects of relational ontologies might be useful in enriching understandings of chivanhu and how chivanhu might be useful in enriching relational ontologies. Thus the book looks at how different kinds of entities are interconnected and interdependent in ways that can help rethink violence as well as the attendant modes of resilience. The book underscores the fact that in chivanhu there are interconnections and interdependences among different entities. Owing to colonial boundary demarcations and rigidifications of differences, such interconnections and interdependences evident in everyday life were underplayed and dismissed in favour of epistemologies that stressed the individual. In the preference for colonial epistemologies, alternative everyday life ways of peace-building and peacemaking lost traction in the Western formal sense, resulting in official efforts that narrowly focus on the formal institutional means of surviving violence. It is by pursuing the differences and sameness of epistemologies that this book explores the modes of resilience by the villagers in rural Zimbabwe.
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Introduction and Background On Matters of Violence, Ontologies and Resilience Such were the difficulties of living in Zimbabwe that between 2000 and 2009 the rate of inflation rose until it reached 231 million percent in 2008, over 4000 people died of cholera and the rate of formal unemployment reached over 90% in a context of acute food, cash and water shortages that attended the economic meltdown within the country (The Zimbabwean 22 March 2009; Tarisayi, 2009; Coltart, 2008; Gasela, 2009). Statistics produced during the period indicated that about 40,000 allegations of violations of human rights occurred including torture, arson, murder, rape, assault, threats, confiscation of property including farms and livestock belonging to opponents (Reeleret al., 2009; Reeler, n.d.; Lovemore, 2003). In this context Zimbabweans braced to confront multiple forms of violence including direct physical violence in which victims were often abducted at night and marched to bases of militia or the military where they were tortured using sjamboks, rifle butts, log, sticks, booted feet, blunt objects, rubber hosing, tire strips, bicycle chains, electric cables, electricity, water and other fluids used for suffocation. Approximately 10,000 homes were allegedly destroyed and 20,000 people were displaced by the violence (Reeler n.d; Masunungure 2009). These statistics were of course contested among the various parties, that is, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the Zimbabwe African National Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) (see for instance the Zimbabwe Independent July 1-7 2011;Biti, Chihuri in war of words, p 1-2). However it is important to note that in scholarship, statistics are controversial since they are often used as mechanisms to shame opponents, to deliberately create moral panics and to conduct some kinds of modern witchhunting in order to discredit political opponents (Edgertonet al., 1963; Ben-Yehuda, 1985). In this respect, Ben-Yehuda (1985) argues that during conflicts some people create moral panics by deliberately generating frightening
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