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Archive for the ‘Zimbabwe’ Category

Facets of Power: Examining the politics, profits and people in the making of Zimbabwe’s blood diamonds

Facets of PowerNew from Wits Press – Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds, edited by Richard Saunders and Tinashe Nyamunda:

The diamond fields of Chiadzwa in the Marange District, among the world’s largest sources of rough diamonds, have been at the centre of struggles for power in Zimbabwe since their discovery in 2006. Against the backdrop of a turbulent political economy, control of Chiadzwa’s diamonds was hotly contested.

By 2007, a new case of “blood diamonds” had emerged, in which the country’s security forces engaged with informal miners and black market dealers in the exploitation of rough diamonds, violently disrupting local communities and looting a key national resource. The formalisation of diamond mining in 2010 introduced new forms of large-scale theft, displacement and rights abuses, with as much as $13 billion now estimated by government to have gone missing.

Facets of Power is the first comprehensive account of the emergence, meaning and profound impact of Chiadzwa’s diamonds. Drawing on new fieldwork and published sources, the contributors present a graphic and accessibly written narrative of corruption and greed, as well as resistance by those who have suffered at the hands of the mineral’s secretive and violent beneficiaries.

If the lessons of resistance have been mostly disheartening, they also point towards more effective strategies for managing public resources, and mounting democratic challenges to elites whose power is sustained by preying on them.

A shocking account of the Marange diamond tragedy which, instead of uplifting the lives of the poverty-stricken local people living in one of the most arid regions of Zimbabwe, dashed their hopes and exposed the ruthless and inhuman nature of a corrupt, selfish and shameless regime. This well-researched book is a must read, not only for this our present generation but for posterity – with a view to saying “never again”.

The Rt Rev. Dr S Bakare – Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Harare

London and Antwerp are famous for major diamond robberies. These are nothing compared with what happened in Zimbabwe. Facets of Power is an insider’s look at one of the greatest and most disgraceful diamond heists of all time. It will help to ensure that Marange crimes and the criminals who committed them are not forgotten.

- Ian Smillie, author of Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption and War in the Global Diamond Trade, and Diamonds

About the editors

Richard Saunders is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada.

Tinashe Nyamunda is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

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Don’t miss the launch of Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms by Maxim Bolt at Wits

Zimbabwe's Migrants and South Africa's Border Farms: The Roots of ImpermanenceWits University Press and WiSER invite you to the launch of Maxim Bolt’s award-winning book Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: The Roots of Impermanence.

How do people create homes and stability in times of mass unemployment and uncertainty?

During the Zimbabwean crisis, millions crossed through the border fence to South Africa, searching for work as farm labourers. In a time of intensified pressures on commercial agriculture in South Africa following market liberalisation and post-apartheid land reform, Bolt explores the lives of migrant labourers and settled black farm workers and their dependants as they intersect with those of white farmers and managers on the Zimbabwean-South African border.

Join us for a conversation with Bolt as he discusses, with Tara Polzer (research director at Social Surveys Africa) and Eric Worby (Professor of Anthropology at Wits), the role of wage labour in a place of crisis.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 11 May 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Venue: WiSER Seminar Room
    6th Floor Richard Ward Building
    East Campus, Wits University | Map
  • Panel: Tara Polzer and Eric Worby
  • Refreshments: Wine and juices will be served
  • RSVP: info.witspress@wits.ac.za

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Wits University Press author Maxim Bolt wins British Sociological Association Ethnography Award

Zimbabwe's Migrants and South Africa's Border FarmsCongratulations to Wits University Press author Maxim Bolt, winner of the 2016 BBC Thinking Allowed/British Sociological Association Ethnography Award for his book Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: The Roots of Impermanence.

Thinking Allowed in association with the British Sociological Association offers the annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography: the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub-culture.

Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms, explores uncertainty in a post-apartheid South Africa. During the Zimbabwean crisis, millions crossed through the apartheid-era border fence, searching for work as farm labourers. Bolt explores the lives of Zimbabwean migrant labourers, of settled black farm workers and their dependents, and of white farmers and managers, as they intersect on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. A close ethnographic study, it addresses the complex, shifting labour and life conditions in northern South Africa’s agricultural borderlands. Underlying these challenges are the Zimbabwean political and economic crisis of the 2000s and the intensified pressures on commercial agriculture in South Africa following market liberalization and post-apartheid land reform.

Jonny Steinberg, author of A Man of Good Hope, said about Bolt’s book: “In precise, limpid prose, Maxim Bolt brings to life the human ecology of a border farm. Ever alert to the counterintuitive, he shows how stability is fashioned in the midst of the unstable, and how work organises life in a time of mass unemployment. The monograph sheds light on new and important social processes. It is a significant achievement.”

Bolt is a Lecturer in Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Birmingham and a Research Associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), University of the Witwatersrand. His doctoral thesis, on whose research this monograph draws, was awarded runner-up in the biennial Audrey Richards Prize by the African Studies Association of the UK.

Listen to an interview with Bolt talking to Laurie Taylor on the BBC (The interview starts at 10:36 minutes in):

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Gwinyayi A Dzinesa Discusses the Future of the Mozambican National Resistance Movement

Region-building in Southern Africa Gwinyayi A Dzinesa, co-editor of Region-building in Southern Africa, has written an article for the Institute for Security Studies’ Policy Brief with Dimpho Motsamai.

The article, titled “Renamo’s war talk and Mozambique’s peace prospects”, looks at the Mozambican National Resistance Movement (Renamo), its ability to wage war and its long-term future in the country.

Growing political tensions in Mozambique intensified in October 2013 when Mozambican government forces attacked the base of the Mozambican National Resistance Movement’s (Renamo) long-time leader Afonso Dhlakama. In reaction Renamo declared an end to the General Peace Agreement (GPA) which it had concluded with the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) on October 4th 1992. The deteriorating relationship between the country’s two main political forces has raised fears that Mozambique may return to civil war. Nonetheless, the country held largely peaceful municipal polls on 20 November 2013, which Renamo boycotted. This boycott ensured that many of the ruling party’s seats went unchallenged and has further alienated the party from local politics. As a result, Renamo’s political future hangs in the balance, particularly in light of Mozambique’s next general elections scheduled for October 2014 in which the party’s participation remains uncertain. This policy brief analyses Renamo’s capacity to wage war and the Mozambican government’s ability to contain insecurity. It also assesses the long-term political future of Renamo.

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Dawn Nagar Calls for More Intra-country Trade in Africa

Region-building in Southern Africa Dawn Nagar, co-editor of Region-building in Southern Africa, has written about the need for more intra-country trade in Africa, in an article for the Cape Times, which has been republished on the Centre for Conflict Resolution’s site.

Nagar also discusses the challenges that have arisen from the “tripartite grouping of the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).”

Africa remains the world’s only region where intra-country trade is a paltry 10 percent. As part of efforts to integrate the continent’s national economics, the African Union (AU) recently brought together nearly 400 policymakers, economists, and business people with the object of establishing a continental free trade area by 2023.

Africa’s present economic anchor is the tripartite grouping of the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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Dawn Nagar Discusses the Issue of South Africa Prioritising Domestic Concerns Over Regional and Global Ones

Region-building in Southern Africa Dawn Nagar, co-editor of Region-building in Southern Africa: Progress, problems and prospects, wrote an article for The Sunday Independent, which was republished by the Centre for Conflict Resolution, on South Africa boosting economic growth through an increased investment in infrastructure and an increase in trade.

Nagar writes that “the extent to which South Africa should prioritise domestic concerns over regional and global ones in pursuit of these goals remains unclear”.

The idea of boosting economic growth through increasing trade and investing in infrastructure is clearly articulated in the National Development Plan (NDP) of 2011. However, although Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan expanded on this in his budget speech to Parliament three months ago, the extent to which South Africa should prioritise domestic concerns over regional and global ones in pursuit of these goals remains unclear.

Pretoria believes that successful economic integration in Southern Africa and the continent as a whole depends on solid infrastructure, particularly good roads, workable railway lines, efficient border posts, and well-co-ordinated customs unions. South Africa’s infrastructure is well established but more still needs to be done to integrate it within the Southern African region. For example, a lack of co-ordination among national rail systems leads to serious delays and freight often being diverted from rail to roads.

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Celebrate Africa Day with a Discussion of Books on Peacebuilding, Region-building and the EU and Africa

Peacebuilding, Power and Politics in AfricaRegion-building in Southern Africa The EU and AfricaAs part of Africa Day celebrations at Wits University, Wits University Press, Centre for Africa’s International Relations and Wits International Relations Department invite you to a launch and discussion of three recently published books dealing with questions of peace, security and development in Africa.

The books that will be launched are Peacebuilding, Power and Politics in Africa by Gwinyayi A Dzinesa and edited by Devon Curtis, Region-building in Southern Africa : Progress, problems and prospects edited by Chris Saunders, Gwinyayi A Dzinesa and Dawn Nagar as well as The EU and Africa: From Eurafrique to Afro-Europa edited by Adekeye Adebajo and Kaye Whiteman.

A panel of African scholars will discuss these books from the prism of South Africa’s current engagement in African conflicts, Africa’s relations with Europe, and the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU).

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Launch of Region-building in Southern Africa and African-language Literatures at CTBF

 
Region-building in Southern Africa Wits Press held several talks this past weekend at the Cape Town Book Fair.

On Sunday 17 June Chris Saunders, Dawn Nagar and Gilbert Khadiagala discussed the topics raised in their book Region-building in Southern Africa: Progress, problems and prospectus. Mandy Watson tweeted from the launch using #ctbf:

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African-language LiteraturesInnocentia Mhlambi, author of African-language Literatures, Sizwe Satyo and Mbulingeni Madiba discussed new directions in the study of African-language literatures and isiZulu fiction. Mandy Watson tweeted from the launch, held on Saturday 16 June, using #ctbf:

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Book Launch: Invaded by Leonie Joubert

InvadedLeonie Joubert and Don PinnockWits University Press, in association with Exclusive Books, invites you to a launch of Invaded: the biological invasion of South Africa, by Leonie Joubert, with photography by Roger Bosch.

Invaded provides an overview of the different species that have arrived in South Africa during the past three centuries, and the threats they pose (or have the potential to become). Ultimately, the book attempts to quantify how these species have changed systems, disrupted the natural environment and threatened the future of the country’s many unique plants, animals and habitats.

Former minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Kader Asmal, will be the guest speaker. We look forward to welcoming you to the event:

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