Original Research

Writing back to colonialism, again: The novel The Chimurenga Protocol and the ‘new’ resistance literary culture in post-2000 Zimbabwe

Oliver Nyambi
Literator | Vol 36, No 1 | a1125 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v36i1.1125 | © 2015 Oliver Nyambi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2014 | Published: 02 October 2015

About the author(s)

Oliver Nyambi, Department of English, University of Zululand, South Africa


Some contemporary Zimbabwean literature demonstrates a discernible resistance thread. These literary works create fictional life-worlds in which the ambivalence of colonial land and economic injustices are exposed as potentially mutating and threatening the independent nation. In this way, such works validate ‘nationalist’ corrective measures through inserting a narrative that implicitly refers back to past colonial imbalances. In the choreographed discourses of national sovereignty that characterise the Third Chimurenga – epitomised by Mugabe’s book Inside the Third Chimurenga – there are perceived dangers from infiltrating forces which pose a threat to the nation’s sovereignty. Britain’s refusal to fund land reform in Zimbabwe is viewed as an implicit declaration of that country’s intention to derail the Zimbabwean people’s movement towards total independence and the ‘fast track land reform’ of the Third Chimurenga. The anti-Britain campaign is inextricably linked to the land question. The cultural sphere (especially its literary, theatrical and musical dimensions) in Zimbabwe’s recent past has been faced with the political urgency of (re)defining the land question. Literary texts such as Nyaradzo Mtizira’s novel The Chimurenga Protocol, theatre performances such as Christopher Mlalazi’s ‘Election Day’ and musical compositions by the war veteran singer Dickson Chingaira are some of the artistic productions that reveal conflicting perspectives on the land and its significance in the people’s search for selfdetermination and national identity. Using the example of Nyaradzo Mtizira’s novel The Chimurenga Protocol, this article argues that whilst many Zimbabwean writers published in the post-2000 period have attempted to imagine ‘alternative’ national identities, the text’s anti-West thematic and aesthetic texture resonates with the state’s post-2000 ideological grand narratives of the nation and can therefore be read as the newest form of resistance literature in Zimbabwe’s postcolonial literary oeuvre.


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Crossref Citations

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