Displacements: Old Wine in New Bottles

Over the decades, forced displacement has been frequently used in Zimbabwe as a political weapon. During the Liberation War, hundreds of thousands of rural Zimbabweans were forced from their homes and into “keeps”, so-called “protected villages”, in order to prevent their support for the freedom fighters. It is a tactic that has been repeatedly used subsequently since 2000, with Operation Murambatsvina the most notorious of the many examples.

However, it is not so evident to many that there has massive displacement, probably exceeding that of Operation Murambatsvina [OM], under the land reform process begun in 2000. This displacement has not been as overtly dramatic as OM, but has permanently displaced many more than under OM.

It is certainly the case that the displacement of the white commercial farmers has received huge media coverage whilst that of the black commercial farmworkers has not received anything like the same attention.

RAU has been examining the effects of displacement over the past 5 years, and issued a number of reports on this, as well as a documentary that has received critical appreciation. The report and the film on the effects of displacement on the commercial farm workers can be found by following the links below:

GAPWUZ (2009), If something wrong…The invisible suffering of commercial farm workers and their families due to “land reform”. Report prepared by the Research & Advocacy Unit and the Justice for Agriculture Trust. November 2009. HARARE: GENERAL AGRICULTURAL AND PLANTATION WORKERS UNION OF ZIMBABWE.




RAU (2009), “House of Justice”. 26 minute documentary on the SADC Tribunal and current farm invasions in contempt of the ruling. HARARE: RESEARCH & ADVOCACY UNIT.



JAG/GAPWUZ (2007), DESTRUCTION OF ZIMBABWE’S BACKBONE INDUSTRY IN PURSUIT OF POLITICAL POWER. A qualitative report on events in Zimbabwe’s commercial farming sector since the year 2000. Report prepared by the Justice for Agriculture Trust [JAG] & the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe [GAPWUZ]. April 2008. HARARE: JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE TRUST.





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