Review of Suffering for Territory: Race, Place and Power - African Affairs
Suffering for Territory: Race, place and power in Zimbabwe, by Donald
S. Moore. Durham and London: Duke University Press, sildenafil Harare: Weaver Press,
2005. xix þ 424 pp. £15.95 (paperback). ISBN 0-8223-3570-0 (paperback).
In Zimbabwe, matangwena is often used in the vernacular to refer to the makeshift, ramshackle shelters that squatters typically live in before building more established homes. In a small way, this word illustrates how important the subject of Donald Moore’s excellent book is. This term for squatters comes from the
history of Rekayi Tangwena who famously led the people of Kaerezi, in the 1960s and 1970s, in resistance against eviction from ancestral lands by the Rhodesian government, acting under the directive of the hugely unpopular Land Apportionment Act. Defying eviction, Rekayi and the people of Kaerezi lived in
hideouts in the mountains around the ranch from which they were to be evicted, coming down through the night to replant and rebuild homes destroyed by the Rhodesian government, until they finally went into exile in Mozambique. As if years of defying colonial evictions were not enough to cement a place in the history books, the nationalist credentials of Rekayi Tangwena and his people were further bolstered by assisting the highly mythologized flight into exile of Robert Mugabe, who escaped through the night, and through a window, into the recently liberated territories of Mozambique in 1975. Younger people across Zimbabwe (the ‘born free’) will on occasion use the phrase matangwena without understanding
its significance, but for those who remember colonial eviction and the liberation struggle, the meanings and importance are not lost.
This is the story that Donald Moore picks up in Suffering for Territory. It sets the scene, for Kaerezi in Nyanga district in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe is where Moore carried out the fieldwork for this thought-provoking book. But more than simply producing another history of the minutiae of struggles within the liberation war, Moore traces the stories of Kaerezians forward to the 1990s, when they again had to resist the pressures of an overbearing now post-colonial state, seeking this time not so much to evict, as to resettle Kaerezians into villagized, governmentalized, resettlement grids known in Zimbabwe as ‘maline’. Moore traces the new struggles of individuals within communities as they appear alongside
and confront the old struggles. Eschewing ‘a single unfolding chronology’, Moore pulls ‘temporally and spatially distant events into understandings of struggles in the early 1990s to emphasize how their traces, while reworked, remain consequential’ (p. 29). For Kaerezians, the idiom of ‘suffering for territory’ combines past local, national and trans-national struggles with ongoing contests in the 1990s, struggles which Moore brilliantly shows, are situated in place, making place as well as being about place. Indeed, if the subject of this study—tracing the story of how resistance against colonial eviction, was followed by, and invoked in, resistance against post-colonial developmental resettlement—is enough to make this book an important contribution to academic debate about Zimbabwe’s ongoing dilemmas over land, then of equal significance are the theoretical insights that emerge from its empathetic and finely grained ethnography. In common with other current anthropological analyses of power and the state, Moore not only engages with both Foucauldian and Gramscian notions of power, but also moves beyond the existing literature by focusing on what he calls the ‘spatiality of power relations and politics of positioning’ and the ‘historical sedimentations, at once discursive and material, that entangle subjects and territory’ (p. 9 and 12). Moore demonstrates the importance of place and landscape, not only as the site of struggle, as backdrop to ongoing political contestation, or as material, symbolic or cultural resource, but also as the productive result of entangled local and trans-local practices and discourses. As he puts it ‘where cultural practices take place matters because they are among the critical assemblages that produce place’ (p. 120). ‘Cultural practices, social relations and political economic processes meld with the materiality of milieu, producing place’ (p. 17). He develops the notion of ‘articulated assemblages’ of the discursive and the material, and in so doing displaces: ‘humans as sovereign makers of histories’. ‘Humans’, he tells us, ‘are not the only entities making mixtures not of their own choosing... Assemblages arrange provisionally, giving emergent force to contingent alignments of social relations, material substance and cultural meaning
. . .They span the divide between nature and culture, humans and non-humans, symbol and substance’ (pp. 23–24). Thus, Moore suggests, ‘history and politics are inflected with the consequential materiality of milieu, of non-human entities and artifacts’ (p. 24).
Moore’s emphasis on articulation ‘foregrounds how power relations and historical sediments formatively shape contingent constellations that become materially and discursively consequential’ (p. 25). This is of great theoretical importance for anthropology because it points a way forward to understanding the complex interrelationships between ideational and material aspects of landscape, without losing focus on the study of power and politics, a defining aspect of our discipline in recent years. He explores how the micro-practices of livelihood and labour entangle with the materiality of landscape, and the contested sedimentations of ‘selective sovereignties’—of chiefs, ancestors and rainmakers confronting each other
even as they adopt, or take on, the governmentalizing and disciplining technologies of state bureaucracy. Moore discusses how articulated assemblages gain ‘traction’ and become ‘effective’ at specific moments, and yet always remain contingent and dynamic. Finally, he ends by considering how such assemblages of the discursive and the material, and the idiom of ‘suffering for territory’, have again found ‘traction’ in the context of post-2000 land reform. His work opens the way for a renewed sophistication in the study of landscape and power, both in relation to Zimbabwe’s ‘land’ conundrum and beyond.
In sum, Moore’s book is itself a powerful assemblage: of insightful and sympathetic ethnography; of multiple and overlapping subjectivities confronting different regimes of power; and of multiple sovereignties and spatialities intermeshed in locality and territory; all of which is brilliantly narrated, in the context of struggle, of power and of resistance, through the lens of the daily lives of people in Kaerezi.
This book rewrites academic debate over land, environment and power in Zimbabwe, and beyond, and if non-specialists find some of its narrative dense and too hard to penetrate, then I urge them to read on and persevere, for this book is truly a remarkable achievement.
University of Edinburgh JOOST FONTEIN
Review of Suffering for Territory: Race, Place and Power - JMAS
Suffering for Territory: race, place, and power in Zimbabwe by
DONALD S. MOORE
Durham, NC & London: Duke University Press, 2005. Pp. 322. £15.95 (pbk.).
Donald Moore has written a highly interesting book on an area in eastern Zimbabwe that became a prominent place during the war for independence. Its rebellious chief, the late Rekayi Tangwena, buried at Heroes Acre, had to flee to Mozambique, and his subjects escorted Robert Mugabe, the future president of independent Zimbabwe, and Edgar Tekere, a future opposition leader, across the
mountains to join the chief. Assistance to the flight also came from a multi-racial cooperative, established on a farm bought by English sympathisers with the struggle. This cooperative harboured quite a number of Tangwena’s subjects who had been violently evicted from a white-owned farm that was established on
part of Tangwena’s territory. Some of the cooperative’s managers became important politicians in post-Independence Zimbabwe, including ministers and the speaker of the House. After the war, the new government acquired the white-owned farm for resettlement purposes. While most resettlement schemes harboured farmers from different (communal) areas in Zimbabwe, the Kaerezi scheme became the home of those who in the past had been evicted from the farm. Moore describes how Kaerezians, having suffered for the land, felt entitled to the land in the scheme and that they could use the land the way they wanted. After a few years of tolerating the community’s ‘haphazard’ settlement and cultivation patterns, the resettlement officer felt obliged to enforce the standard land use pattern applied in 182 REVI EWS all resettlement schemes in the country. Those who did not comply were labelled ‘ squatters ’ and threatened with eviction. This generated a lot of resentment and feelings of betrayal, but also conflicts with the new chief, Tangwena’s successor, appointed by the new government. Claiming that only he had the right to allocate land, he ordered his subjects not to submit to the new rules, and fined those who did. Faced with a choice between possible eviction and a hefty fine, discussions erupted about the legitimacy of the state, the new chief, the nature of chiefly rule and the authority of the rainmaker.
Drawing on insights derived from, among many others, Foucault, Gramsci and Marx, Moore constructs an elaborate theoretical framework to analyse the con- flicting claims on land in eastern Zimbabwe. He emphasises how political technologies produce territory, and how in southern Africa racialised political
technologies produced multiple territories in a single colony: African reserves, commercial – white-owned – farms established on land dispossessed from Africans, nature reserves, etc. The ‘geographies of violence ’, are historically ‘sedimented’ in landscapes, leading to an entanglement of race, rights and territory,
resulting in several modes of sovereignty in one site. New regimes of rule articulate with previous formations sedimented in discourses, practices, and landscapes; these sediments are constantly reworked. Moore studies the micropractices in Kaerezi through which the relations of rule work, and shows how
power is located in relational processes that are transnational but have highly localised impacts. He describes how the post-colonial state, in a repetition of colonial practices, appoints chiefs without consulting subjects, and how resettlement land use plans are heavily influenced by the work of an American missionary. In struggling with the resettlement scheme and a chief demanding they defy the scheme, Kaerezians sometimes support the authority claims by the chief and his headmen by referring as much to a pre-colonial past as to colonial legislation on indirect rule ; but also challenge chiefly claims by supporting the rainmakers’ authority claims, or by arguing that in pre-colonial times, farmers could cultivate wherever they wanted, not on plots allocated by chiefs. The endless (threats of) eviction that Kaerezians face(d), but also the way their livelihood strategies are influenced as much by the landscape as vice versa, show that subjects are not sovereign. Nevertheless, according to Moore, they do exercise agency through ‘suffering for territory’. One of their bones of contention with the chief is that prior to his appointment he lived in a different part of the country and did not flee to town or Mozambique, that he has not suffered for the territory.
Reviewing Donald Moore’s voluminous work is not an easy task. His ethnography is rich and detailed. Through interviews, casual conversation, observations and archival work, Moore is able to trace (the different versions of) the history of Kaerezi scheme, which does indeed reach beyond the site itself : the
background of the two brothers acquiring farms in the area, the support they receive from and fights with colonial officers, the conflicts between the native commissioner and other government officials, the meeting of the late Rekayi Tangwena and the rainmaker in Bulawayo where they became members of the
nationalist movement, the influence of the multiracial cooperative. He provides the reader with a good insight into the different ‘sediments’ that play a role in the conflicts about land in eastern Zimbabwe. He also shows a great sensitivity towards the women’s role. However, Moore’s attempt to provide as complete a REV I EWS 183 picture as possible, and to prove the validity of his model, sometimes makes the book a tough read. Especially towards the end there is quite some repetition. By showing why some sovereignties gain traction (among certain groups) and others do not, he repeats many of the discussions about the ‘nature’ of chiefly role and the conflicts with the rainmaker, which he discusses under the heading of ‘ selective sovereignties ’. Furthermore, his style of writing does not make for easy reading, especially for those whose mother tongue is not English. Moore tries to provide the reader not only with a detailed case study, but also with a new theoretical framework to analyse natural resource conflicts. In my
opinion he wonderfully succeeds in this endeavour, but what is a little irritating is that he sometimes claims parts of the framework – by using phrases like ‘ in my analytic ’ – that have been developed by others ; though he acknowledges that in the footnotes. Sometimes I also had the feeling that such claims were mainly based on slight changes in terminology. In some cases such changes can have significant impacts on the way we conduct our analyses, but for instance the idea of ‘multiple sovereignties ’ is perhaps not all that new, and there is quite a lot of literature on the legacies of indirect rule and colonial land reform projects in localised conflicts about land. Nevertheless, the connections he proposes and some of the terms – like the ‘sediments and striations ’ – make a useful contribution to the study of natural resource conflicts. That is also what makes the book, which mainly analyses events that took place before the farm invasions and subsequent developments, highly relevant. Donald Moore is quite present in the text. We read about his gruelling treks across the mountains accompanying Kaerezians on their way to cattle dips, his tea sessions with many a family, but we do not learn that much about his position and influence in the field. His attempt to clarify this in the introduction results mainly in a description of the difficulties in obtaining research clearance. It is clear, however, where his sympathies lie, but what were the effects of his living with ‘squatters ’, how did that influence his relation with e.g. the resettlement officer ? I would have like to read more about the orchard project which he initiated. He mentions that drawing up a project proposal was no easy feat, but I would have liked to read about how he negotiated the multiple sovereignties and sediments. I appreciate that he could not write about later research he conducted in Kaerezi for fear of violent reprisals against some of his friends and contacts. Let us hope that the situation in Zimbabwe will improve and that soon Moore will be able to write the follow-up.
MARJA S P I E R ENBURG
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
184 REVI EWS
Review of Suffering for Territory: Race, Place and Power - Blair Rutherford
ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIOLOGY
Donald S. Moore. Suffering For Territory: Race, Place, and Power in Zimbabwe.
Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005. 424 pp. Photographs. Maps.
Bibliography. Index. $23.95. Paper.
Suffering for Territory is one of those rare monographs that has much to offer to numerous audiences as it interlayers a sophisticated theoretical analysis with highly insightful historical and ethnographic detail. It also combines a carefully situated political and ethical commentary with an engaging writing style that easily carries the reader through a rich landscape while conveying a historicized terrain of power and struggles, localized vulnerabilities, and ironic humor. In this ethnography, Donald S. Moore examines the
cultural politics of power, place, and social identification at various levels of action (e.g., local, national, regional) as they intersect with the livelihoods and struggles of people living in or passing through an eastern Zimbabwean locality on the border with Mozambique that resonates highly with African nationalist import. The focus is Kaerezi, home of the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena, famous in Zimbabwe and elsewhere for leading his people against colonial land evictions in the late 1960s and early 1970s and in
1975 for escorting Robert Mugabe, who was fleeing the Rhodesian forces, over the border into Mozambican camps controlled by the guerrilla forces of the African nationalist group he was soon to lead. Moore makes substantive contributions to the understanding of Zimbabwe and southern Africa, to the conceptual and heuristic tools deployed in analyzing state power, development, sovereignty, and livelihoods in Africa and beyond, and to refashioning ethnographic studies to become more astutely
engaged in the cultural politics informing the localities of their research. Drawing on thirty months of fieldwork between 1988 and 1996, including a period of over two years spent in Kaerezi, Moore lays bare the dense (or to use his apt metaphor of choice, “entangled”) social geographies of racialized, gendered, and at times, ethnicized land politics in Zimbabwe. He invokes the idiom of “suffering for territory” used by many of his Kaerezian interlocutors to convey the brutalities they experienced during the colonial period and what they struggle with now to make land claims 203 against a postcolonial state that has its own agendas and forms of violence. The three parts of the book expand on and tease out the historical, social, and discursive contexts that sustain this idiom. The first part examines the historical modes of power that shaped the social, physical, and political landscapes of Kaerezi to the 1990s, in particular the tension between the postcolonial government resettlement policies and the modes of livelihood, land claims, and forms of chiefly rule as the government tried to enforce its disciplinary techniques on a resettlement scheme also claimed by the Tangwena chiefdom. The second part expands Moore’s analysis of the colonial period by providing a richly detailed examination of the individuals, labor, and production dynamics, textual acts, and movements of people that consolidated the categories, boundaries, and contours of rule and resistance in Kaerezi and beyond. The final part carries out a similar analysis of the postcolonial period, engaging analytically with both the sharp and fraying edges of power over people’s lives and livelihoods. In terms of providing a substantive historical and ethnographic rural case study of the contested politics of rule, administration, development, and nationalism, Moore makes a significant contribution to the already impressive number of strong historical and social science monographs on these topics in Zimbabwe and southern Africa. But Suffering for Territory also makes important theoretical advances. Moore has an admirable grasp of historic and current theoretical strands and debates in anthropology, political ecology, cultural geography, poststructuralism and postcolonialism, Marxism, feminism, and political theory, among others, and his book is in critical dialogue with them all. His anchoring theoretical framework is what he calls “the triad-in-motion of sovereignty, discipline and government,” informed particularly by his reading of Foucault and Gramsci, which he utilizes to great advantage in his historical and ethnographic analyses, demonstrating the important point that to better understand global, national, or regional processes and power relations it is vital to see how they are entangled with the shifting micropolitics of place. He shows the great possibilities for understanding by grounding one’s theoretical preoccupations in localized struggles, which inevitably are also informed by translocal practices.
However, Moore’s book is not simply an uncritical promotion of ethnography as an unproblematic supplement to other approaches to understanding the colonial and postcolonial state, nationalism, and development in Africa. Rather, he rigorously shows how analyzing micropractices also requires attending to the shifting politics of the position of the academic observer. His theoretical insistence that subjects are not “self-sovereign agents” as they are shaped by power relations is deployed not only to criticize populist claims about the Mugabe regime’s land program but also to examine his own choices in the field and in writing. Suffering for Territory is an exemplary book that provides many forms of engagement for the reader—empirical, theoretical, political, and ethical—as it carefully 204 African Studies Review examines such key themes as sovereignty, colonialism, nationalism, globalism, development, gender, and conservation through their grounding in the lives of men, women, and children and the physical landscape of Kaerezi, Zimbabwe.
Review of Suffering for Territory: Race, Place and Power in Zimbabwe - Environment and Planning Society
Suffering for Territory: Race, place and power in Zimbabwe
Donald S. Moore
2006: (pp: 399) 235 x 155 mm
Environment and Planning
Reviewer: Roderick P. Neumann
Anthropologist Donald Moore has produced a path-breaking study of place and the cultural politics of development in Africa. From the opening pages of this provocative new work, the reader is treated to an evocative, at times poetical, prose. His descriptions of southern African landscapes and his recounting of people's memories and everyday practices bring to life the complexly striated 'translocal histories of place'. Suffering for Territory is remarkable in its theoretical ambitions, employing a fine-grained ethnographic analysis of local micropolitics to build upon and extend the works of principally Marx, Foucault, and Gramsci. Moore grapples with the silences and limitations of Foucault's notion of governmentality and Gramsci's concept of hegemony. In both cases, the silences concern colonial and postcolonial cultural politics outside of Europe. The book, at once highly readable and theoretically complex, is an enormous scholarly achievement that is destined to take a place among the most influential contemporary works in agrarian studies. Moore derives the core of the book's material from his experience of over two years' fieldwork in Kaerezi, Zimbabwe. Located in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands on the border with Mozambique, the Nyanga District's 'Kaerezi Resettlement Scheme' is the site of numerous displacements, resettlements, and conflicting visions of development. Zimbabwe's postcolonial national politics are dominated by questions of social justice in the context of a highly racialized pattern of land distribution inherited from the colonial state. White colonizers, initially led by Cecil Rhodes, alienated vast estates in the colony's most agriculturally productive zones and displaced black Africans to the most marginal, producing in the process spatially separate populations, territories, and rights. It is this racialized political and economic problem that the Kaerezi scheme is intended to rectify.
As Moore shows, however, for Kaerezians the scheme's demarcated villages represent another form of displacement. In the local idiom, the resettlement area is known simply as maline (the lines), the state's attempt to rationalize and discipline rural settlement in a way that bears little relation to everyday spatial practice in Kaerezi. 'Villagization separated discrete functions and spaces: arable, residential, and grazing. In contrast, Kaerezians grazed cattle on maize stalks after harvests, cultivated diverse crops spread across agro-ecological zones, and placed huts amid fields to protect crops from wildlife and domestic herds.' Thus in the early 1980s, Kaerezians resisted orders to resettle, a position that they successfully maintained largely thanks to the political connections of a local chief considered to be a national hero in the war for majority rule. Following the chief's death, the state pressed the resettlement scheme with renewed vigor, providing the politically charged context of Moore's research. Moore focuses on the complex spatiality of the resettlement scheme, showing how international borders, ancestral homesteads, imposed and imagined ethnic territories, and a national park provide multiple possibilities for conflicting interpretations of sovereignty and rights. This complex spatiality is the product of precolonial patterns of settlement and rule, colonial displacements and spatial strategies of control, and postcolonial governmentality.
To demonstrate better how events historically and geographically distant entangle the landscape of the present, Moore eschews a straight chronological narrative of events in place. Rather, he continually blends the historical with the current to remind us that the past is always present in the spatial practices of daily life, in the cultural politics of development, and in the competing meanings of land and landscape. He introduces an analytical concept he calls 'selective sovereignties', borrowing from Raymond William's formulation of 'selective tradition'. In Williams's formulation, what becomes understood as tradition is the result of a contingent process whereby certain cultural meanings and practices are singled out as authentic and authoritative. In formulating selective sovereignty, Moore argues that far from being stable, 'sovereignties shift, realigning relations with government and discipline'. Thus the book works to 'track the effects of practices that deploy sovereignties at once selective and situated'.
Suffering for Territory provides the central idiom around which Moore conceptualizes individual agency in his analysis of the cultural politics of development and land rights. Moore explains that Kaerezians fused ChiManyika concepts of struggle and suffering (kushingirira) and territory (nyika) in establishing a discourse of collective identity, land rights, sovereignty, and rule. Memories of Suffering for Territory during the displacements of colonial rule and the liberation war provide the moral basis to stake claims to postcolonial land rights. '
As an idiom of rights and identity, Suffering for Territory invoked struggles situated in space and time'. Claims to land rights or authority to rule by those not present in past struggles were greatly weakened and delegitimized. Suffering for Territory, as Moore elaborates throughout, was also a gendered experience, with women playing key roles in colonial and postcolonial struggles and invoking those experiences to claim and defend land rights. The book is organized into three sections. 'Governing space' positions sovereignty, discipline, and government in Kaerezi historically and ethnographically, linking colonial agricultural betterment schemes to the postcolonial resettlement plans. 'Colonial cartographies' incorporates the role of labor discipline in addressing the process of colonial disenfranchisement of African cultivators and Africans' efforts to defy both. Section 3, 'Entangled landscapes', explores the multiple spatialities and landscape meanings embedded in this place, Kaerezi. Moore uses the metaphor of 'entanglement' rather than 'layering' to discuss the multiple readings of landscape in Kaerezi and to highlight how colonial dispossession, postcolonial settlement schemes, and transnational circuits of people, capital, and ideas combine to form the messy micropolitics of contemporary development.
Suffering for Territory is a highly original piece of ethnographic writing. Moore has succeeded in merging past and present, theory and ethnography, and the local and the global into a seamless narrative. The book is a postdisciplinary triumph that effortlessly blends social theory with the concepts and analytics of anthropology, history, and geography. Geographers in particular will take note of the power of ethnographic writing to enrich studies of place and identity. The book will likely enjoy a wide audience far beyond African studies and serve as a mainstay on reading lists for graduate seminars in several disciplines.
© The author/publisher