1st Edition

Independent Museums and Culture Centres in Colonial and Post-colonial Zimbabwe Non-State Players, Local Communities, and Self-Representation

    194 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Independent Museums and Culture Centres in Colonial and Post-colonial Zimbabwe presents case studies that grapple with the issue of ‘decolonising practice’ in privately owned museums and cultural centres in Zimbabwe.

    Including contributions from academics and practitioners, this book focusses on privately run cultural institutions and highlights that there has, until now, been scant scholarly information about their existence and practice. Arguing that the recent resurgence of such museums, which are not usually obliged to endorse official narratives of the central government, points to some desire to decolonise and indigenise museums, the contributors explore approaches that have been used to reconfigure such colonially inherited institutions to suit the post-colonial terrain. The volume also explores how privately owned museums can tap into or contribute to current conversations on decoloniality that encourage reflexivity, inclusivity, de-patriarchy, multivocality, community participation, and agency. Exploring the motives and purpose of such institutions, the book argues that they are being utilised to confront deeply entrenched stigmatisation and marginalisation.

    Independent Museums and Culture Centres in Colonial and Post-colonial Zimbabwe demonstrates that post-colonial African museums have become an arena for negotiating history, legacies, and identities. The book will be of interest to academics and students around the world who are engaged in the study of museums and heritage, African studies, history, and culture. It will also appeal to museum practitioners working across Africa and beyond.

    Introduction: Chapter 1: Museum diversity in Africa: museums, related exhibitionary institutions and non-state players

    Jesmael Mataga, Thomas Panganayi Thondhlana, & Dawson Munjeri

    Part I: Colonial museology, "un-inherited pasts" and decolonial possibilities

    Chapter 2: Saving Modern Heritage: The National Railways of Zimbabwe’s Railways Museum, Bulawayo

    Rob Burrett

    Chapter 3: Legacies of the British Empire: Remembering Rhodes at the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition, Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe

    Meshullam Mudzedze, Thomas Panganayi Thondhlana, & Edmore Nyamutowa

    Chapter 4: Colonial Wounds and The Demand for Social Justice: The Case of The Murray MacDougall Museum

    Thomas Panganayi Thondhlana & Tawanda Mukwende

    Chapter 5: Museums in Small Places: The Milton High School Museum, Bulawayo

    Francis Muchemwa

    Chapter 6: Colonial Vestiges, Difficult Heritage, and The Post-Colony: Rescuing Ian Smith’s Collections at The Gwenoro Ecomuseum, Shurugwi

    Simbarashe Shadreck Chitima


    Part II: Liberation heritage, museum-making, and new narratives

    Chapter 7: African Liberation Heritage in The Post-Colonial Period: The Museumisation of Joshua Nkomo’s House in Bulawayo

    Henry Chiwaura

    Chapter 8: Liberation Heritage And "Patriotic History": Preserving the Legacy of the ‘Soul of The Nation’ At KwaVaMuzenda House Museum

    Lesley Hatipone Machiridza & Ndinaishe Mazvihwa


    Part III: Independent players, communities, and cultural rights

    Chapter 9: Independent Living Museums, Intangible Heritage, and Sustainability: The Kambako Living Museum, Chiredzi

    Jesmael Mataga & Thomas Panganayi Thondhlana

    Chapter 10: Local Narratives and Decolonised Knowledge Production at Amagugu International Heritage Centre, Matobo District

    Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi

    Chapter 11: Cultural Restoration, Self-Representation, and Community Development: A Case Study of Paiyapo Arts Development and Heritage Centre, Chipinge

    Phillip Kusasa, Elias Gwenzi Konyana, & Fortune Sibanda

    Chapter 12: African Aesthetics and Decolonial Aesthesis: Revisiting the Art and Non-Art Debate At The Independent Art Museum In Masvingo

    Thomas Panganayi Thondhlana, Vongai Gloria Chinuwo, & Jesmael Mataga

    Chapter 13: Towards Community-Driven Curatorship: Traditional Chiefs and Cultural Connoisseurs at The Avuxeni Community Museum, Chiredzi South District

    Herbert Pikela, Thomas Panganayi Thondhlana, & Steyn Khesani Madlome




    Thomas P. Thondhlana holds an MSc in Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials and a PhD in Archaeology both from the University College London (UCL), United Kingdom. He is currently the holder of the UNESCO Chair on African Heritage and Director of the Centre for Culture and Heritage Studies at Great Zimbabwe University. He is also serving as a member of the National World Heritage Committee and Standing Committee on Culture in Zimbabwe. His research interests cut across several areas which include pre-colonial mining and metallurgy, archaeological science, cultural entrepreneurship, cultural economics, liberation heritage, and museology. He is a co-editor of the book entitled "African Museums in the Making: Reflections on the Politics of Material and Public Culture in Zimbabwe" (2015, Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group).

    Jesmael Mataga is an Associate Professor and the inaugural Head of the School of Humanities at the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) in South Africa. He has experience in museums and heritage management with interests in museum curation, communities and museums, heritage and communities, intangible cultural heritage, cultural diversity, and UNESCO conventions. Before joining the Sol Plaatje University, he taught in Culture and Heritage Studies programmes, at the National University of Lesotho and the University of Zimbabwe. He started his career as a curator with the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe. His recent work includes a co-written book, Museums as Agents for Social Change (2021, Routledge).

    Dawson Munjeri is a Research Professor at the Centre for Culture and Heritage Studies at the Great Zimbabwe University since March 2018. He is one of the most experienced scholars in the cultural and natural heritage field from Zimbabwe. He was instrumental in setting up the ‘Oral traditions/history’ programme of the National Archives of Zimbabwe (1978 -1983). Between 1984 and 2001 he served in various capacities and eventually became the Executive Director of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ). From March 2002 to December 2017 he was with the Zimbabwe Permanent Delegation to UNESCO in Paris. He has published over fifty book chapters and articles in refereed journals on both tangible and intangible heritage. He holds a PhD in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Centre d’ Etudes Diplomatique et Strategies, Paris. His PhD research was entitled: ‘An Analytical Approach to International Treaties on Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Context of Sub-Saharan Africa’.