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The Historical Dimensions of Democracy and Human Rights in Zimbabwe - Vol. 2

Nationalism, Democracy and Human Rights

edited by Terence Ranger

Zimbabwean human rights historiography often assumes that pre- colonial African politics were democratic; whilst colonialism implies a total denial of human rights. It further assumes that Zimbabwean nationalism was in essence a human rights movement; and that the liberation struggle, which led to the overthrow of colonial oppression, reinstated both human rights and democracy.

This, the second volume on the historical dimensions of human rights in Africa, reconsiders questions of nationalism, democracy and human rights. It asks why the first ‘democratic revolution’ was frustrated in Africa, despite the democratic dimensions of the early nationalist movements. It considers possible causes of the resulting post-independence authoritarianism in Zimbabwe as centralism, top-down modernisation, or ‘development’; and it reviews the outcomes of a commandist state. Common themes running through the book are the ambiguities and antitheses which concepts of nationalism and democracy imply; and the delicate, but necessary balancing which discourse on majoritarian democracy and human rights is bound to produce. This in-depth historical analysis by some of Zimbabwe’s leading intellectuals and academics sheds essential light on some of the conflicts, traumas and human rights dilemmas that the country is experiencing at present.

ISBN 9781779200013 | 204 pages | 216 x 140 mm | 2004 | University of Zimbabwe Press, Zimbabwe | Paperback



'This fine collection of specific historical research and Ranger's useful introduction opens new insights and suggests important areas of research that will help both to understand the current crisis and to provide ways to rethink a more democratic future.'

African History

'The contributors to this volume successfully highlight different aspects of this exclusionary process and thus provide a solid historical understanding for the current crisis.'

African Studies Review



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