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Reading: Toxic Roots: The Remnants of White Minority Rule in Zimbabwe


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Toxic Roots: The Remnants of White Minority Rule in Zimbabwe


Terlona Jude Knife

Washington State University, US
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Honorable Mention for Best Work of Criticism

2018 Northwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities

This paper discusses the complex history of the intersection of sexuality and gender within Zimbabwe, specifically the chiShona tribe. It builds on the work of Zimbabwean anthropologist Josiah Taru, and African Studies scholar Tabona Shoko to uncover queer tribal identities and their position within precolonial chiShona tradition. This challenges efforts to naturalize homophobia in Zimbabwe in its current context. In relation, the role of colonial masculinity, power, and how it is interconnected in current political discourse is examined, problematized and complicated. Finally, the ways in which lesbian chiShona women challenge this discourse and lesbian invisibility is highlighted through the work of Tinashe Mupedzapasi. Colonization has left toxic roots within chiShona masculinity, sexuality, power dynamics, and gender identity reinforcing hierarchical understandings within chiShona culture. Yet non-normative identities persist. Thus, this project also addresses the critical question: can this discourse be decolonized?

Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Linda Heidenreich-Zuñiga

How to Cite: Knife, T.J., 2019. Toxic Roots: The Remnants of White Minority Rule in Zimbabwe. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 10(3), p.2. DOI:
Published on 13 Jan 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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