Religion and Nationalism in the Making of Zimbabwe, 1948 to the Present Day

Course Material 2022/23

Nationalism has been a powerful force in Zimbabwean history as a mobilising ideology and it continues to play a key part in the arena in which political ideas and participation are imagined.  It remains central to debates about who belongs, and who has the right to speak, to vote and to own land. 

This paper examines the histories of nationalism as a set of movements and ideologies, analysing how it articulates to struggles of gender, generation, class and ethnicity.  It considers alternative political trajectories, such as movements of labour, that were subsumed in the groundswell of nationalism during the 1950s and revived in the 1990s. 

In particular, it examines religious models of liberation and how they articulate to politics.   The paper surveys churches and religious NGOs in civil society, forms of development; the Born-again movement; and new digital publics.  We will also study how Christian movements can foster solidarities that transcend the nation-state and reject formal politics in favour of emancipation through healing and exorcism, or through self-reliance and the gospel of prosperity.