Dr. Obert Bernard Mlambo
University of Zimbabwe
Building: Institut für Afrikanistik und Ägyptologie
Phone: +49 221 4704699
Period of stay: until July 2018
Funding fellowship: Alexander von Humboldt Research Award
Topic: “Veterans, Masculinity, and Land Expropriation in Contemporary Zimbabwe and the Late Roman Republic: Towards a Global History”
In this study I explore veterans’ land expropriation movements in two disparate historical periods, namely, contemporary Zimbabwe and the period of the ‘client army’ of the late Roman Republic. I explore from a comparative perspective, how the Roman case provides a model for understanding modern Zimbabwean veterans’ land expropriations (2000-2008), and vice versa. I apply the comparative historical method to investigate episodes in which ‘heroic masculinity' and ‘militarism’ appear in a veterans context in order to create explanations that are valid beyond a single historical period and place. When making the expropriations, veterans in Zimbabwe engage in a certain degree of posturing, exploiting conventional images of power, that is, images of manly or military heroism and valour. These command fear and respect in society, and have an inordinate impact on socio-economic and political life. An even greater tragedy is the damage to democracy and the development of a stable civil society, since veterans never made a change towards peaceful bahaviour. I therefore investigate how heroic masculinity and warrior capabilities of veterans have resulted in phenomena of violence in present-day Zimbabwe, by exploring how masculinity and its various strategies of propaganda contribute to social disruption.
In pursuit of research goals, I seek a) to develop the concept of masculinity as a tool of analysis for understanding post-colonial Zimbabwe’s land reform dilemmas. b) To understand the processes by which Zimbabwe’s War of Independence 1973-1980 has functioned as a site for the construction of a violent masculinity by veterans. c) To demonstrate that “masculinity” and “heroism” lead to hierarchies that operate outside, or in tandem with, the democratic constitution of Zimbabwe, and to social disruption.
This study is both conceptual and empirical, i.e based on data, but also theoretical, as it makes use of contemporary theories of gender and masculinity, and theories on the motives of organised violence and actions of mobs or groups of people (Kalyvas 2006 cf. Valentino 2004). In terms of methodology, I think about things 'from below' from the perspective of the veteran. I consider the veterans and their ideals of masculine virtue and/or revolutionary violence. I look for evidence of veterans taking things into their own hands, carrying out illegal occupations of land. This is where the comparative material from the Roman Republic offers the most potential, in providing a basis for thinking about what makes veterans tick, the extent to which they have their own agendas -- or, and the extent to which they are manipulated and internalize the agendas of their leaders.
- Classical History
- Comparative Studies of Classical and Contemporary African Societies
- Land and Agrarian Studies
Education and professional career
Doctor of Philosophy in Classics, University of Zimbabwe February
MA in Classics, With Merit, University of Zimbabwe
BA Honours in Classics, With Distinction, University of Zimbabwe
BA General, Upper Second Division, University of Zimbabwe
A) Published Books:
Makwavarara Zifikile, Magosvongwe Ruby, & Mlambo Obert Bernard. (Eds). Dialoguing Land and Indigenization in Zimbabwe and Other Developing Countries: Emerging Perspectives, University of Zimbabwe Publications, Harare, 2015, 380 + xix pp.
B) Published Book Chapters:
Mlambo Obert Bernard, and Zimunya, Clive Tendai. 2016. Rethinking the Role of Group Thought in Religious Violence and Extremism, in (Eds.) Joachim Kuegler and Johannes Hunter, The Bible and Violence in Africa, University of Bamberg press, Bamberg, 59 – 74.
Mlambo, Obert Bernard. 2015. Images of Masculinity and Militarism in Veteran Land Movements in Contemporary Zimbabwe (2000-2008), and the Late Roman Republic: Towards a Global History, In: Makwavarara, Z., Magosvongwe, R., & Mlambo, O. B. (Eds). Dialoguing Land and Indigenization in Zimbabwe and Other Developing Countries: Emerging Perspectives, University of Zimbabwe Publications, 168 – 183.
Mlambo, Obert Bernard and Zimunya, Clive Tendai. 2015: Looking within: Africa and the Obstacles to the uptake of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, in Kenneth C. Nwoko, Omon M. Osiki Eds. Dynamics of Culture and Tourism in Africa: Perspectives on Africa’s Development in the 21st Century, Babcock University Press, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria, 317 - 338.
C) Published Journal Articles:
Obert Bernard Mlambo and Wesley Mwatwara. 2016. Moral Arguments for Land Redistribution in Contemporary Zimbabwe and Gracchi Rome: A Comparative and Critical Analysis, Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.9, no.2, 81 -99.
Maposa RS and Mlambo, Obert Bernard. 2016. Hermeneutic of Liberation Theology and Student Protests at the University of Rhodesia, 1965-1980: Lessons for Academic Freedom in Contemporary Zimbabwe, Journal of Academic Freedom, CODESRIA, Dakar. 18 pages.
Mlambo, Obert Bernard and Chitando, Ezra. 2015. Blair, keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe: examining the relationship of physical space and political order in Zimbabwe’s land redistribution programme (2000-2008), (Ed.) Journal of Pan African Studies, Vol 8 No. 8, 8 – 26.
Zimunya, Clve Tendai, Gwara, Joyline, and Mlambo, Obert Bernard, 2015. The feasibility of an Ubuntu ethic in a modernized world, Journal of African Foreign Affairs, Vol 2. Issue 1 & 2, 5 – 25.
Mlambo, Obert Bernard. 2015. The Role of Music in the Age of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe. In: ‘Creating African Futures in an Era of Global Transformations: Challenges and Prospects’, CODESRIA 14th General Assembly Procedings 8 – 12 June/Juin 2015, Issue No., Dakar, CODESRIA publications, 1 – 12.