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South African Journal of African Languages

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This is our land: Land and identity in selected Zimbabwean black- and white-authored fictional narratives in English published between 2000 and 2010

Ruby Magosvongwe, Abner Nyamende

Abstract


This article analyses post-2000 Zimbabwean black- and white-authored fictional narratives’ depictions of land and identity against the backdrop of the socio political and economic crises resulting from the post-2000 land occupations. The process and phase that provide the background to both fictional narratives and their criticism have been canonised as jambanja across the racial divide. Far removed in time and space, these Zimbabweanauthored fictional narratives form an essential socio-historical record of the post-2000 Zimbabwean land experiences. Critical attention appears to ignore the socio-cultural-historical contexts, issues that the selected fictional narratives partially address. The socio-economic and historical accounts of Zimbabwe’s embittered land experiences have also been mainly racial and exclusionary. This article interrogates whether writers’ trajectories suggest practicable systems, structures, approaches and practices that genuinely respect common humanity and the imperative to safeguard human dignity. Using Molefi Kete Asante’s Afrocentric ‘Location theory’ to situate texts as well as their criticism within the context in which they are generated and developed, the article analyses writers’ creativity—motifs, meaning, language, attitude, direction and vision—within the Zimbabwean socio-culturalhistorical experiences. This integrative approach is envisaged to establish common ground and humwe (‘oneness/ togetherness’) through literature so that Zimbabweans can hold constructive dialogues on the post-2000 land and identity issues.




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