1st Edition

Photographing the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe Politics, Power, and the Images of Zenzo Nkobi

By Lungile Augustine Tshuma Copyright 2025
    172 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    After assuming power in 1980, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) has sought to control the narrative of the struggle for liberation from colonialism, to the exclusion of other players such as the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU). This book investigates the ways in which photographs are being used within Zimbabwe, especially on social media, to challenge the prevailing narrative and reclaim the memories of the subjugated. 


    The book analyses the photographs produced by Zenzo Nkobi during the struggle against colonialism. Drawing on the memories of veterans from ZAPU and its military wing the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA), the book shows that photographs can both act as a conduit for existing narratives, and as a tool for shaping memory narratives, and evidencing ZPRA military prowess ahead of other movements.


    At a time when Zimbabwe is reassessing the legacy of liberation, this book offers a powerful multidisciplinary assessment for researchers across the fields of history, memory, political science, African studies, and media studies.

    Introduction: Remembering Zimbabwe’s Contested Past  


    Chapter 1: Boarding Time: ZAPU and its ‘Revolution Within a Revolution’


    Chapter 2: Rising from the Ashes: Setting the Conventional Army


    Chapter 3: Looking into ZPRA’s Women’s Brigade


    Chapter 4: ZAPU and the Internationalisation of the Struggle


    Chapter 5: False landing: Zimbabwe’s Unfinished Business


    Conclusion:  Photography and Salience(ing) the Past


    Tshuma Lungile is a researcher in the Centre for Communication and Culture (CECC), Universidade Católica Portuguesa. He holds a Ph.D. in journalism studies from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), South Africa. Prior to joining Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lungile was a Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the department of Media and Communication at UJ. Lungile’s research interest are in photography, memory, and journalism. His work has been published in local and international journals such as Journal of Genocide Research, African Journalism Studies, Critical Arts, Nations and Nationalism, Journal of Communication Inquiry, and Media, Culture and Society. He also co-edited Patterns of Harassment in African Journalism (Routledge 2024).

    A rich, riveting and awe-inspiring account of Zenzo Nkobi’s photographic works, and how they are intertwined with memory politics and the national question.

    Mphathisi Ndlovu, National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe


    This book is a tour de force! Well done on powerfully weaving a compelling literary tapestry to Zenzo Nkobi’s photographic archive of one of the most formidable liberation movements in Southern Africa.

    Siphosami Malunga, Programs Director at Open Society Africa