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Unsettled spirits, performance and aesthetics of power: the public life of liberation heritage in zimbabwe

Show simple item record Mataga, Jesmael 2021-09-14T08:21:52Z 2021-09-14T08:21:52Z 2018
dc.identifier.issn 2159-032X
dc.identifier.uri 10.1080/13527258.2018.1493699
dc.description.abstract This paper investigates how meanings of liberation heritage have been constructed and institutionalised in Zimbabwe, and how this has elicited responses from local communities. While most treatises on liberation heritage have focussed on the politics of election of heroes and heroines or the contested meanings and symbolism of sites, archives or objects associated with liberation heritage, this analysis, drawing from the Zimbabwean context, examines the strategies used to frame ideas and practices around liberation heritage. The article brings together different practices centred around the Zimbabwean liberation war, where practices around burials became a way of renewing the legitimacy of the state in a period of increasing economic and political turmoil in post 2000 Zimbabwe. The selected curatorial projects and state sponsored commemorations or rituals, show that the conferment of official heritage status to spaces, sites, routes or personalities associated with liberation wars provides space for public performance of the state’s narrative of the past, conferring it with an accentuated visibility in the public sphere. The paper highlights the strategies deployed and the language used to entrench the liberation war narrative as part of official heritage, all choreographed and performed at burials, visitations, rituals and other commemorative practices. While the configuration of the war past as official heritage confers visibility to the state, it also produces a fractured and highly contested heritage complex, stimulated by emerging counter practices that resist state-sponsored forms of memorialisation. The production of heritage in post-2000 Zimbabwe points to the intensifying politicisation of heritage in times of increasing economic and political tensions. The developments foreground the fluid and ever-changing nature of the uses of heritage and are a demonstration of how tropes of heritage continue to take a central role in contemporary politics in Southern Africa. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher International Journal of Heritage Studies en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries volume 12;
dc.subject Liberation heritage en_US
dc.subject liberation war en_US
dc.subject commemoration en_US
dc.subject human remains en_US
dc.subject heroes’ acres en_US
dc.subject National Heroes’ Acre en_US
dc.title Unsettled spirits, performance and aesthetics of power: the public life of liberation heritage in zimbabwe en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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