Identity, agency and development: the case of the Zambezi Valley

Manyena, Bernard (2008) Identity, agency and development: the case of the Zambezi Valley. In: Tonga Timeline: Appraising 60 years of multidisciplinary research in Southern Province, Zambia, 26-28 June, 2008, Zambart House, Lusaka Zambia. (Unpublished)

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Much ink has been spilt in constructing and (re)presenting the Zambezi Valley Tonga in Zimbabwe using a deficit model of vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic stresses and shocks. Common, but rather demeaning descriptions and labels of the Zimbabwean Tonga include, ‘marginalised’, ‘isolated’, ‘poor’, ‘backward’, ‘minority ‘, ‘primitive’, ‘dangerous’, and ‘two-toed people’. These descriptions have far reaching implications not only on the identity of the Zimbabwean Tonga but also on the development interventions that aim at addressing deprivation in the Zambezi valley. Development interventions tend to adopt a mapenzi or buyumuyumu (problem) approach rather than building on the bukkale bwesu (local systems). Absent in the literature is the Tonga’s resilience and self-agency in negotiating ‘reversals’ to these socially constructed representations which are also manifest in development interventions. Using secondary data as well as ‘lived experience’, this paper explores the Zimbabwean Tonga’s self-agency in enhancing their resilience to socio-economic and environmental challenges. For nearly thirty years since Zimbabwe’s independence, self-agency has been visible around consistent issues: vulnerability reduction to poverty and hunger; recognition of Tonga language as one of the national language; and expansion of the political space of the Tonga.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
T500 African studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 3356 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 15:45
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 22:26

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