War veterans in Zimbabwe's land occupations: complexities of a liberation movement in an African post-colonial settler society

W. Sadomba

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


    In 2000, Zimbabwe’s century old land movement took a swift turn, rupturing into
    nationwide occupation of mainly White owned commercial farms. The speed with
    which occupations spread, their organisation, the political and economic context, the
    historical origins and interaction of the forces, shaped an unprecedented and
    complex land movement impacting on the region, the continent and beyond.
    Zimbabwe’s land occupations were unique in two ways. First, the leading role of
    War Veterans of the 1970s anti-colonial guerrilla war in the land occupations was
    exceptional. Second, the simultaneous challenge to racial, settler economic
    dominance and neo-colonialism by marginalised peasants, farm workers, war
    veterans, urban youth and the unemployed, was a new experience in post-colonial
    history of Africa’s liberation movements. Zimbabwe’s land occupations were a long
    continuum of land struggles to resolve the colonial legacy of racial resource
    distribution but as they occurred, the role played by the state, the contested terrain of
    the civil society, formidable political opposition and imperialist interventions of
    western powers clouded the identity of the land movement thereby making it
    difficult to distinguish the moving current and the identity of forces from the wider
    political conflicts swirling around it. Who exactly initiated the occupations and for
    what reasons? This thesis attempts to unpack these intricately locked forces in a bid
    to understand their origins, interests, strategies, tactics and above all, the alliances
    between and amongst them, for clearer understanding of the core of the movement.
    This thesis traces the history of Zimbabwe’s liberation movement as foundation to
    understanding political reconfigurations that shaped post independence social
    movements and assesses agrarian technology responses to such a dramatic social
    change of Africa’s post-colonial settler society. The thesis provokes prognostic
    thoughts about the role played by social capital of liberation struggles in future
    economic and cultural emancipation from shackles of neo-colonialism and racial,
    settler capitalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Wageningen University
    • Richards, Paul, Promotor
    • Moyo, S., Co-promotor, External person
    • Jansen, Kees, Co-promotor
    Award date17 Jun 2008
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Print ISBNs9789085049173
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • veterans
    • interest groups
    • politics
    • agrarian reform
    • agricultural land
    • land policy
    • government policy
    • colonialism
    • imperialism
    • conflict
    • farmers
    • poverty
    • social change
    • rural areas
    • zimbabwe
    • history
    • occupation
    • western world
    • relations between people and state
    • political conflicts
    • social conflict
    • national politics

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