Water, History and Politics in Zimbabwe

Bulawayo's Struggles with the Environment 1894-2008

Muchaparara Musemwa



This book examines the City of Bulawayo s struggles with the environment from 1894 to 2008 given its location in the perennially semi-arid region of south-western Zimbabwe. It focuses on a case-study of Makokoba, the city s first and oldest township, and explores the history of its African residents and their struggles over access to water during this period from a sustainable livelihoods perspective one which emphasizes that human security and environmental sustainability are inextricably intertwined. The book argues that water scarcity in Bulawayo, especially as it affected Africans for the most part, was a result of both biophysical conditions and man-made policies.


The first major study of the politics of water in Southern Africa, this path-breaking monograph will revolutionise the region’s historiography. Conceptually sophisticated and clearly written. — Ian Phimister, University of Sheffield


Muchaparara Musemwa is Associate Professor of History, Department of History, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and editor of the South African Historical Journal.