Journal Article

The mystery of recurrent housing demolitions in urban Zimbabwe


This paper reflects on how to interpret the dearth of radical activism in Zimbabwe’s peri-urban areas: why Zimbabwe’s urban ‘subalterns’ do not mobilize against the recurrent heart-wrenching demolitions of their informal settlements housing. It contributes to the understanding of how politics in context is a major determinant of informal urban and peri-urban developments in which working classes, middle classes, elites and the state are major actors. A significant proportion of demolition victims are aspiring risk-taking middle classes socially located in a double bind of the ruling ZANU (PF) party-state’s jambanja empowerment-disempowerment social contract within which alternative uprising looks unfeasible. Intrinsically, jambanja is about the emasculation of prevailing laws such that, when demolitions occur, both victim and sympathizer activism is undermined by the illegality of the original housebuilding. Consequently, demolitions will persist for as long as jambanja and the pervasive structural informality of the ruling ZANU (PF) party-state endure.

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Mbiba, Beacon

Oxford Brookes departments

School of the Built Environment


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-08-17

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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