The Politics of land acquisition and struggles over land in the communal areas of Zimbabwe: the Gokwe region in the 1980s and 1990s
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Abstract: Historical writing on agrarian differentiation in rural Zimbabwe has moved away from conceptualising the peasantry as a homogeneous class, and has therefore enhanced our understanding of the process of rural differentiation. While such writing recognises patterns of differential land holding, however, it has not shown clearly how the differences developed over time. There has been a tendency to argue that land distribution in the ‘communal’ areas is less skewed than other variables and therefore acts as a brake on the process of accumulation and differentiation among the peasantry. The article challenges this basic assumption, arguing that ‘communal’ tenure actually facilitated the development of significant disparities in landholding and accumulation by rural households.