Gender and Land Ownership in Zimbabwe

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CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Introduction

The preceding chapter gives a review of related literature on gender and land ownership in various regions of the world in general, and Zimbabwe in particular. This chapter discusses the theoretical framework that guides the study. It focuses on African-centred approaches used to critique writers’ trajectories of gender and land ownership in selected Shona fiction. It elucidates the theoretical underpinnings that inform the study. This chapter, therefore, gives a detailed explanation of the critical approaches adopted in this study. It also justifies why African-centred approaches are better placed to critique the gender and land ownership question within the context of African lived experiences. The present study is informed by Africana Womanism and Afrocentricity. It is grounded in theories that are African-centred and attempts to analyse and understand African phenomena from the vantage point of Africans.
Employing African-centred theoretical approaches is relevant to this study which discusses gender and land ownership in selected Shona fiction. African-centred approaches do ground the study in African culture and history and therefore, are necessary in this study for they assist in understanding and grounding the study in the African people’s culture and the historical processes they have evolved through. Rootedness in African-centred approaches has also been supported by Adesina (2008: 135) who highlights that, “An intellectual standpoint derived from a rootedness in the African conditions, centering of African ontological discourses and experiences as the basis of one’s intellectual work is particularly crucial to any study of African literature.” This therefore, makes it imperative for this study to be rooted in African-centred theories like Africana Womanism and Afrocentricity in its analysis of gender and land ownership in selected Shona fictional works.

Africana Womanism

Africana Womanism has been defined as:
Coming out of the rich legacy of African womanhood, and is an authentic paradigm with its own unique agenda true to the prioritisation of race, class, and gender. From its very historical and cultural context, it is family centred, not female centred, and it is first and foremost concerned with race empowerment rather than female empowerment, which in reality, is a part of, not separate from, the holism of Africana life (Hudson-Weems, 2007: 23).
Hudson-Weems further succinctly defines the Africana Womanism paradigm as:
Neither an outgrowth nor an addendum to feminism, Africana Womanism is not Black feminism, or Walker’s Womanism that some Africana women have come to embrace. Africana Womanism is an ideology created and designed for all women of African descent. It is grounded in African culture, and therefore, it necessarily focuses on the unique experiences, struggles, needs, and desires of African women … The primary goal of Africana women then is to create their own criteria for assessing their realities, both in thought and in action (Hudson-Weems, 2004a: 82).
Hence Africana Womanism is a theory which understands that African women are under the tripartite  domination   of  race,   class   and  gender  and   would  help   the   present   study  to comprehend Shona fiction in its relation to gender and land ownership.
Even  though  some  critics  like  Mangena  (2013)  may argue  that  women  on  the  African continent do not suffer from racism because most of the countries are now independent, it is a fact that after achieving flag independence most African countries are still suffering from the effects of colonialism. The land alienation which was caused by colonialism is still prevalent in Africa; most African countries are still struggling to reclaim the land that was taken away from  them,  both  men  and  women.  This,  therefore,  makes  Africana  Womanism  theory relevant to this study for it understands that African women have three cards that militate against them. Aldrige referring to Hudson-Weems’ theory observes this tripartite oppression and avers that, “Whilst voicing the centrality of race, she is also cognizant of the Africana woman’s predicament within the dominant culture as being that of racism, classicism, and sexism” (cited in Hudson-Weems, 2004b: xiii). This makes the Africana womanist theory very relevant in tackling African problems such as the gender and land ownership in selected Shona fiction.
Africana Womanism has been hailed as a theory that is meant to give a more realistic understanding of gender relations between men and women of African descent. It is a theory which explains the male-female relations from the context and history of African people and their culture (Makaudze, 2014). Utilising such a theory in this study which focuses on gender and land ownership is of paramount importance for it brings to the fore the Afro-centred relations between men and women as they collectively own land in African traditional culture. It is therefore, necessary to use this theory instead of mainstream feminism which does not focus on the plight of the African people. The succeeding section briefly discusses the preference of using Africana Womanism in this study to feminism.

Africana Womanism Versus Feminism

The study prefers to use Africana Womanism which is rooted in African culture and history instead of feminism. A theory that has Africa at the centre makes it more relevant and applicable to the study of African literature in general and Shona fiction in particular. Conversely, feminism is not grounded in African culture and history and therefore cannot give solutions to the problems of gender and land ownership in an African context (Sofola, 1992). In this study Africana Womanism is used because it makes it possible to objectively understand the condition of African women within their unique experiences, needs and aspirations. In view of the fact that the study is on the portrayal of gender and land ownership in Shona fiction, it is essential to examine the selected works in the context of Africana Womanism because it places the African woman and man in the context of African culture rather than feminism which is a western oriented ideology. Hudson-Weems (2007: 22) argues that “Africana Womanism then stands as an exemplar for such a strategy for our liberation via collective struggle with Africana men, women and children.” The issue of land deprivation that most African countries have gone through calls for such a theory that understands that men, women and children have been deprived of their birth right, which is the land; and they are, therefore, in the struggle of reclaiming that land. Africana Womanism, therefore, is the accurate theory which enables the current study to critique gender and land ownership in selected Shona fiction.
Hudson-Weems (1997: 79) affirms that “Africana Womanism commands an African-centered perspective of African women’s lives…their historical, current, and future interaction with their community, which includes their male counterparts.” Thus unlike feminism which focuses on female emancipation while side-lining men, Africana Womanism weaves in Africana men in their struggle against the tripartite domination of race, class and gender. Africana Womanism, for that reason, becomes relevant to the present study in which both African men and women have been dispossessed of their land by colonialism and are in the struggle together of reclaiming their land which was taken away from them by former colonial.
Also the feminist movement did not do much to address the needs and aspirations of black women and other women of colour (Blackmon, 2008). Instead, it focused on the needs of middle class white women in Britain and America in the guise of a movement for the emancipation of women globally (Hudson-Weems, 1993, 2004a; Ebunoluwa, 2009). Accordingly, because of the inadequacies of feminism in addressing the needs and aspirations of black women and men, it is necessary to use a theory which covers that gap, Africana Womanism. Through Africana Womanism “Africana women continue to prioritize obstacles in their society- the lack of equal access to career opportunities, fair treatment of their children, and equal employment for their male counterparts” (Hudson-Weems, 2004a: 49). Hence the Africana women realise that their whole nation, including their children and men, has suffered and understand that in order for them to have better living conditions their focus should not only been on emancipating the female gender but the male gender as well. To this effect, Lewis (1970: 15) asserts, “As a Black Woman I view my role from a Black perspective- the role of Black women is to continue the struggle in concert with Black men for the liberation and determination of Blacks.” Feminism, therefore, does not take cognisance of these desires and aspirations; it is only Africana Womanism that calls for the emancipation of the entire Black race. This makes the theory relevant to this study which endeavours to discuss selected Shona fiction’s analysis of racial and gender imbalances in land ownership.

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 
1.0 Background to the Study
1.1 Statement of the problem
1.2 Aim of the Study
1.3 Objectives
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Justification
1.6 A Brief Literature Review
1.7 Theoretical Framework
1.8 Research Methodology
1.9 Scope of Study
1.10 Conclusion
1.11 Definition of Terms
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 
2.0 Introduction
2.1 An Overview of Gender and Land Ownership in Asia
2.2 An Overview of Gender and Land Ownership in Latin-America
2.3 An Overview of Gender and land ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa
2.4 Gender and Land Ownership in Zimbabwe
2.5 Implications of Land Ownership Patterns in Contemporary Zimbabwe
2.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 
3.0 Introduction
3.1 Africana Womanism
3.2 Afrocentricity
3.3 Conclusion
4.0 Introduction 
4.1 Research Design
4.2 Research Participants
4.3 Sampling Strategies
4.4 Research Instruments or (Methods of Gathering Data)
4.5 Justification for Complementary Sources of Data Collection
4.6 Ethical Considerations
4.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5: ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION 
5.0 Selected Fictional Works, Interviewees and Respondents’ Perspectives
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Data Generated from Selected Fictional Works .
5.3 Land as a Hallmark of Existence in African Philosophy
5.4 Colonial Penetration and its Effects on Gender and Land Ownership
5.5 Land Reform: Redressing the Colonial and Gender Injustices in Land Ownership in Post-independent Zimbabwe
5.6 A Summary of the Selected Fictional Works on the Second Phase of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme
5.7 General Overview of Gender and Land Ownership in all Selected Fictional Works
5.8 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION 
6.0 Introduction
6.1 Research Findings
6.2 Recommendations
REFERENCES
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Gender and Land Ownership in Zimbabwean Literature: A Critical Appraisal in Selected Shona Fiction

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