The Rise of An African Middle Class

Colonial Zimbabwe, 1898-1965

Michael O. West


The book is available in North America, not in Zimbabwe.


Tracing their quest for social recognition from the time of Cecil Rhodes to Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence, Michael O. West shows how some Africans were able to avail themselves of scarce educational and social opportunities in order to achieve some degree of upward mobility in a society that was hostile to their ambitions. Though relatively few in number and not rich by colonial standards, this comparatively better class of Africans challenged individual and social barriers imposed by colonialism to become the locus of protest against European domination. This extensive and original book opens new perspective into relations between colonizers and colonized in colonial Zimbabwe.


Offers an extremely sophisticated, nuanced view of the social and political construction of an African middle class in colonial Zimbabwe. ―Elizabeth Schmidt


Michael O. West teaches in the Departments of Sociology and Africana Studies at Binghamton University. He has written widely on Zimbabwean and southern African history, and on the African diaspora.