From Wilderness Vision to Farm Invasions [978-1-59907-017-9]


Author : William Wolmer

ISBN Code : 978-1-59907-017-9
Language : English
Pages number : 192
Format : Perfect bound

Landscapes are invested with meaning and are inherently political. Conservation and development programs in Zimbabwe’s south-east ‘lowveld’ have been rooted in concepts of the landscape: either as a wilderness to be tamed into a productive landscape by white ‘pioneers’ or as a pristine natural landscape to be preserved, rehabilitated, or consciously manufactured.

The uses and perceptions of this landscape by African people have been ignored in policies derived from the ‘wilderness vision’. Dryland agriculture in the lowveld has been regularly dismissed as inappropriate, rather than as a key livelihood strategy; irrigation and livestock projects have been biased towards large-scale commercial sector initiatives; and wildlife conservation initiatives have imposed coercive regulations on resource use, deepening antagonism over land.

The farm invasions in recent years have re-peopled the wildernesses. Starkly contrasting ways of understanding this landscape have been revealed, which have radically different implications for conservation and development policy.


Part 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

Part 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

Part III: THE ‘NATURAL’ LANDSCAPE – Manufacturing wilderness: wildlife conservation in the lowveld

Part IV: THE POLITICS OF LAND(SCAPE) – Reclaiming the wilderness? Farm invasions in the lowveld.

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