Accepted paper:

working through memories of post-2008 political violence in Southern Zimbabwe


Edmore Chitukutuku (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)

Paper short abstract:

Political violence suffered by people in Southern Zimbabwe has affected their intimate relationships and how these intimate relationships such as kinship ties have been the target and cause for targeted violence by individuals. People used the media technology such as DVDs,CDs and WhatsApp and Facebook.

Paper long abstract:

This research took an ethnographic view in understanding the complexities of the violence that happened in Bikita district in 2008. The study looked at how the people in the district are grappling with the effects which this violence had on their everyday lives. I argue that violence at the elections caught ordinary people up in its work both as perpetrators and victims and this required sophisticated everyday responses and this research looked at how people respondent to this violence. The cultural norm is that people should be silent about their traumatic experiences in public. Intimate relationships and the social fibre have been broken and people no longer trust each other, as this violence was meted against neighbours by neighbours. People took advantage of the existence of youth militias to settle existing personal grudges and jealous against each other by labelling those they hate as sell-outs, especially in extended family set-ups. In the midst of silence there are many ways people use to talk to each other about their experiences. In the absence of state intervention on healing of trauma, communities have engaged with less expensive but effective strategies to deal with the trauma of political violence. People have used media such as Facebook and recently WhatsApp to share their experiences with others across the country. They also exchange protest music through CDs, tapes and DVDs and cell phones as a way of talking to each other to cope with the effects of violence.

panel P074
The massacre and its intimacy: violence among neighbors