“Some of us had Troubles and Some of us Were Free:” Illicit Brewing and African Community Formation under Settler Colonialism in Zimbabwe, 1890-1950
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This thesis explores what was possible for urban Africans under settler colonial rule in colonial Zimbabwe, from 1890 to the early 1950s. Focusing on the township of Mbare, this thesis argues that colonial interests were built upon weakness and division, and that African lives within the settler colonial township were heterogeneous, often shaped by intersecting categories of identity, primarily gender and class. In order to ask questions about how gender and class shaped the Mbare experience, this thesis looks at drinking spaces within the township, particularly the differences between who frequented the municipally-run beer hall and the illicit shebeens. It highlights how the divisions between the clientele in different drinking spaces can tell us a great deal about how Mbare residents were internally divided, and how these factions often had little to do with appeasing the colonial order.