Conservation and development programmes in Zimbabwe's south-east 'lowveld' have been rooted in the conceptualisation of this landscape as wilderness. The uses, perceptions and experiences of this landscape by African people have been ignored in policies derived from the 'wilderness vision'. Land reform has failed to take account of the way the landscape is bound up with identity through its embodiment of ancestral spirits and function as a repository of social memories. The turbulent dynamics around farm invasions in Zimbabwe may open space for previously silenced constructions of landscape to influence policy.
North America: Tsehai/African Academic; Zimbabwe: Weaver
William Wolmer is with the Knowledge, Technology & Society team at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
Contents: I LOWVELD LANDSCAPES - Landscapes of the imagination - The wilderness vision: colonial perceptions of the lowveld landscape & its inhabitants - Socialised, sacred & contested spaces: African landscapes in the lowveld II THE PRODUCTIVE LANDSCAPE - Lowveld livelihoods: the 'suitability' of dryland cropping in the landscape - 'Backwater to breadbasket': irrigated agriculture in the lowveld - Cattle country: livestock management in the ranches & reserves III THE 'NATURAL' LANDSCAPE - Manufacturing wilderness: wildlife conservation in the lowveld IV THE POLITICS OF LAND(SCAPE) - Reclaiming the wilderness? Farm invasions in the lowveld.