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'Conditional belonging', power and welfare on Zimbabwe’s (former) commercial farms

Venue: PLAAS Boardroom
Date: 11 Apr 2017
Time: 13:30 to 14:30

Presenter: Dr Andrew Hartnack, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation 

Scholars have contested the fate and position of Zimbabwean farmworkers and dwellers after the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme. While soon after land takeovers started, the focus was on displacement, job-losses and human rights abuses, by 2010 other scholars were pointing to farmworker liberation from repressive, exploitative and semi-feudal labour relations of the old white commercial farming system, and to more independent livelihoods which emerged. Both perspectives tended to miss 'the cultural politics of belonging' and the 'actual terrain of struggle' in which the (ex-)farmworkers engaged as they tried to negotiate power relations and achieve 'conditional belonging' on farms. Such complex and sometimes contradictory struggles existed before 2000 and still exist today on (former) commercial farms, albeit in a markedly different environment. In this seminar, Andrew Hartnack addresses this debate with reference to his recently-published book on farmworkers in Zimbabwe and the history of farm welfare programmes.

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