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A critique of the representation of women and land in postcolonial Zimbabwe fictional literature.

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This research explores the representation of women and land in postcolonial Zimbabwean fictional literature, through examining the extent to which Zimbabwean literary writers deal with the challenges of women’s access to owning and controlling land. Most Zimbabwean women have many generations of agricultural knowledge, skills and labour, as women have long been the primary agriculturalists who grew crops and raised animals. The research indicates that the colonial invasion, seizure and dispossession of land and oppression of African people prompted women and men to fight for liberation. However, even after independence, Zimbabwean women have continued to struggle to gain access to owning and controlling land. These struggles are well represented in creative works, such as Irene Mahamba’s Woman in Struggle, Freedom Nyamubaya’s On The Road Again, Yvonne Vera’s Without A Name and Nehanda, Chenjerai Hove’s Bones, Valerie Tagwira’s The Uncertainty of Hope, Lawrence Hoba’s ‘The Trek And other Stories’, Julius Chingono’s ‘Minister Without Portfolio’, Lawrence Hoba’s ‘Specialisation’, Daniel Mandishona’s ‘A Dirty Game’ and NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names. The research, including the analysis of the primary literary texts, shows that patriarchal social customs, as well as the functions and operations of the state and the police continue to limit and deny women opportunities to access, own and control land. The literary texts also show women using strategies and tactics to challenge the gendered limitations to their access to land. African Feminist theory and approaches are used to analyse women’s challenges and responses including the literary representations of land access and to address these in empowered ways.


Doctoral of English. University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban 2019.