Land issues—including extreme racial disparities in land ownership, insecurity of land tenure and property rights, control over fertile land and mineral reserves, and insecurity of community land rights—have played a central role in Zimbabwe’s history which continues to this day. Located in Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) achieved independence from colonial rule in 1980. Though rich in mineral resources, the vast majority of Zimbabweans live in poverty. By January 2009, only 6% of the population worked in the formal sector.
THE HERALD - ZIMBABWE
30 JULY 2015
Zimbabwe: Celebrating Pioneers of Land Reform
By Fortious Nhambura
Seventeen years ago the people of Svosve armed with hoes and axes moved into the Ruzawi commercial farming belt east of the Mashonaland East provincial capital, Marondera. The villagers were determined to reclaim their ancestral land expropriated from their forefathers by the settler regime. The 1998 historic occupation ignited the land invasions that gave in to the fast track land reform exercise.
In June 2005, demolition crews destroyed hundreds of homes in an impoverished suburb of Mutare, under ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ (Move the Rubbish), the government of Zimbabwe’s campaign to forcibly clear ‘slums’ across the country. Many of those made homeless joined housing cooperatives to collectively purchase land, on which to rebuild their lives, only to have that land taken by Zanu-PF supporters with backing from government ministers.