The Front Line Runs Through Every Woman by Eleanor O’Gorman
The Front Line Runs Through Every Woman
Women and local resistance in the Zimbabwe liberation war
How do we understand women’s experiences of Zimbabwe’s liberation
The history of that war has been written in terms of peasant mobilisation and
resistance. Women’s voices within this history have been muted or absent.
Feminist history and research has also sought to understand the relationship
of women and war through the roles women take up and the culture of
militarism. However, it is the testimonies and voices of women themselves that
need to be heard to better understand what life was like in the war.
• How did women experience guerrilla war in rural Zimbabwe?
Women in Chiweshe, Zimbabwe, experienced war as a matter of everyday
survival and resistance as they navigated volatile relations with state soldiers
and guards, roaming bands of guerrillas and with their own neighbours,
families and communities. Their experience was all the more unique as they
were herded into Protected Villages that were a counterinsurgency measure by
the Rhodesian Front government to prevent contact with the revolutionary
groups. The battleground is revealed to be such that the ‘front line runs
through every woman’.
• Why are women’s voices of the liberation war relevant today for Zimbabwe
and for the UN?
A more local, rural and personal understanding of the liberation war in
Zimbabwe reveals experiences of war that speak directly to current
international efforts to address women, peace and security, notably through
UN Security Council Resolution (1325). It also speaks to the ways in which
women experience the insecurity and political violence that have become
hallmarks of governance in present day Zimbabwe.
ISBN9 781847 010407
215 x 140 mm, pp. 192,