If the settler only focuses on land, only focusing on land after settler colonialism is a dead end: Langton Makuwerere Dube, ‘Race, Entitlement, and Belonging: A Discursive Analysis of the Political Economy of Land in Zimbabwe’, Journal of Black Studies, 2020


Abstract: The access, control, and ownership of land and the means of production is an enduring frontier of conflict in post colonial settler states. Whilst racially tinged, colonialism created “structures of feeling” that sanctioned epistemic violence and created an economy of entitlement and belonging that sustained imperial designs. Zimbabwe’s independence meant the redistribution and proprietorship of land became a central leitmotif of cadastral politics. The article explores the interplay of the contested tropes of race, entitlement, and indigeneity as they informed the highly polarized land redistribution discourse. The discussion takes stock of the dominant narratives of post-colonial state predations, patronage, populism, and megalomania in contradistinction to the various ways in which whiteness and its prejudices and stereotypes nurtured some hubris of entitlement and belonging that retrogressively not only perpetuated colonial settler values and identities but also entrenched racial distance and indifference. The polarized contestations on land redistribution discourse coalesce around concepts such as restitution, indigeneity, nativity, patriotism, race, and class. Therefore while critiquing state excesses that have masked the honorable intentions of land redistribution, the article underscores the complex ways in which white Zimbabweans contributed to the enduring crisis by obdurately fixating their energies on colonial settler entitlements, values, and identities.

%d bloggers like this: