Original Research

The Zimbabwean liberation war: contesting representations of nation and nationalism in historical fiction

I. Muwati, D.E. Mutasa, M.L. Bopape
Literator | Vol 31, No 1 | a41 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v31i1.41 | © 2010 I. Muwati, D.E. Mutasa, M.L. Bopape | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2010 | Published: 13 July 2010

About the author(s)

I. Muwati, Department of African Languages, Unisa, South Africa
D.E. Mutasa, Department of African Languages, Unisa, South Africa
M.L. Bopape, Department of Corporate Affairs, Unisa, South Africa

Full Text:

PDF (263KB)


This article examines the array of macro and micro historical factors that stirred historical agency in the 1970s war against colonial settlerism as depicted in selected liberation war fiction. This war eventually led to a negotiated independence in April 1980. Historical fiction in the early 1980s is characterised by an abundance of fictional images that give expression to the macrofactors, while historical fiction in the late 1980s onwards parades a plethora of images which prioritise the microhistorical factors. Against this background, the article problematises the discussion of these factors within the context of postindependence Zimbabwean politics. It argues that the contesting representations of macro- and microfactors in historical fiction on the war symbolise the protean and fluid discourse on nation and nationalism in the Zimbabwean polity. Definitions and interpretations of nation and nationalism are at the centre of Zimbabwean politics, because they are linked to the protracted liberation war against colonialism and the politics of hegemony in the state. Macrofactors express and endorse an official view of nationalism and nation. On the other hand, microfactors problematise and contest the narrow appropriation of nation and nationalism by advocating multiple perspectives on the subject in order to subvert and counter the elite hegemony.


Historical Fiction; Nation; Nationalism; Zimbabwean Liberation War


Total abstract views: 3185
Total article views: 27209


Crossref Citations

1. And Now the Poets Do Not Speak: The Politics of Representation in Zimbabwean Writing in Shona and English (1954–2023)
Tanaka Chidora, Kudzayi Ngara
Imbizo  vol: 14  issue: 2  year: 2023  
doi: 10.25159/2663-6565/13545