Date of Award

2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

Constance Hunting

Second Committee Member

Richard Judd

Third Committee Member

Laura M. Cowan

Abstract

The four writings compiled for this project involve explorations into the complex relationship between Zimbabweans and their land. The current struggles in Zimbabwe over land seizure and resettlement make this a particularly timely and noteworthy theme. The first piece, "Tshaya, Indoda," is a screenplay looking at the dynamic relationship between a white safari operator and black subsistence farmers who live in nearby communal farming lands. The disputes and issues discussed in this piece are very realistic and awareness is raised as to the historical nature and racial dimensions of the current land disputes in Zimbabwe. "Dubious," the second piece, is in the style of magic realism and explores the impact that safari operators and tourists can have on the natural environment and indigenous populations. This piece provides a rather satirical and fantastical approach to several philosophical and ethical issues concerning land, natural resources, resource consumption, sense of place, and sense of personal fulfillment. In the third piece, "Ants, Spirits, and Magic: Three Encounters with the Pangolin," a more anthropological and technical tone is utilized to address the issue of Zimbabwean property and resource-rights, as well as the significance of the pangolin as the ultimate symbol of human attachment to land. The last piece, entitled "The Bush," is an account of my personal adventures and discussions with four non-fictional characters who all perceive the same environment through decidedly different lenses. The characters consist of a poacher, a safari operator, an independent wildlife researcher, and a Shona rock sculptor. The purpose of this compilation of writings is isolate some of the dilemmas and issues occurring in the Zimbabwe land crisis and try to explain the historical and cultural dinamics of these tensions concerning the land.

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