Violence, Patronage Politics and Farm Ownership in Zimbabwean Land Reform

Kwashirai Zvokuomba, Kezia Batisai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the “violence–politics of patronage” nexus of land redistribution and ownership after land reform in Zimbabwe. Foregrounding an analysis of the violence on farms, which has been explored by many scholars in other dimensions, the article presents hard evidence of what happened on these farms post the Fast Track Land Reform Programme. Deploying Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, this article interrogates the sociocultural and political linkages of violence, patronage and farm ownership to illuminate the dark realities of land distribution after “jambanja” (farm invasions). The violent behaviour around resettled lands is a manifestation of a well-entrenched patronage system in which those whose political views diverge from the “hegemonic power” lose their land through unscrupulous acts. The violence of the jambanja era, initially targeted at white farmers within the context of a “nativist land revolution”, continues to manifest itself in communities, albeit differently. It is, as the French thinker, Jacques Mallet du Pan, said of the French Revolution, “the revolution devouring its own children”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-221
Number of pages25
JournalAfrica Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Zimbabwe
  • jambanja
  • land dispossession
  • land reform
  • patronage politics
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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