Land, Migration and Belonging

A History of the Basotho in Southern Rhodesia C. 1890-1960s

Joseph Mujere

 

Forthcoming.

Synopsis

Tracing the history of the Basotho, a small mainly Christianized community of evangelists working for the Dutch Reformed Church, this book examines the challenges faced by minority ethnic groups in colonial Zimbabwe and how they tried to strike a balance between particularism and integration. Maintaining their own language and community farm, the Basotho used ownership of freehold land, religion and a shared history to sustain their identity. The author analyses the challenges they faced in purchasing land and in engaging with colonial administrators and missionaries, as well as the nature and impact of internal schisms within the community, and shows how their "unity in diversity" impacted on their struggles for belonging and shaped their lives. This detailed account of the experiences and strategies the Basotho deployed in interactions with the Dutch Reformed Church missionaries and colonial administrators as well as with their non-Sotho neighbours will contribute to wider debates about migration, identity and the politics of belonging, and to our understanding of African agency in the context of colonial and missionary encounters.

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Author

Joseph Mujere is Senior Lecturer in History, University of Zimbabwe and Research Associate, Society, Work and Development Institute, University of the Witwatersrand.