Jade Cana CNXJAD001
Week 3: In what ways have residents of Gwayi, Zimbabwe been disadvantaged by the protection of the forest reserve?
About 2.4% of Zimbabwe's land area is forested and managed by the Zimbabwean Forestry Commission (FC) on behalf of the state. Colonial and post-colonial state implemented practices to dispossess and alienate forest residents from protected forests to make way for commercial timber harvesting and wildlife hunting. Besides being a deliberate strategy to force local people to become part of the reserve labour pool to generate capital for developing settlers, Forestry conservation has greatly disadvantaged the communities that live within and around ...view middle of the document...
Such relocations has been justified by authorities arguing that if people are allowed to stay, pressure will continue for others to settle and this will lead to the destruction of forests and that they are not able to provide the level of infrastructure available to those living in communal lands, thus by allowing them to stay in the forests they would be guilty of depriving forest occupants the right to development being enjoyed by those living in communal lands. There are also scientific arguments on the basis of environmental change such as deforestation were predicted if Gwayi settlers are allowed to stay.
The first relocation of residents from Insuzwa Wetland to western Gwayi in 1960 was to make way for wildlife habitat and increase capital made from that activity.. For example, people's resistance in the form of a policy of 'harassment' was initiated on grounds of the issue of water provision. They said animals got much better attention which is ridiculous. It was noted that in Hwange National Park there is a water point every 2km which runs all day to ensure water spills but the FC denies human beings access to water for drinking, limiting them to thrice a week. The success of the first Insuza Wetland displacement in 1960's led to FC wanting to create another wildlife habitat increasing the need to move residents from western Gwayi to eastern Gwayi. Concerning the issue of cultural identity, the fertile valleys of the Kalahari Sand Dunes have been the Ndebele resident’s home for many generations. This way of life came under increasing threat from the cumulative effects of the state's neoliberal conservation practices to 'protect forests', practices which threaten the Ndebele residents existence and culture. The Ndebele people's cultural identity also revolves around keeping large livestock herds which require access to good rangelands and western Gwayi provides that. Grazing is a highly valued resource for older Ndebele residents in both Gwayi sites, and if state regulation are highly enforced, these residents’ livelihoods are threatened.
Matose (2014) spoke with forest residents and many shared stories of them being denied access, permits and many indirectly disadvantaged in various ways. The residents say they cannot hunt to feed themselves whereas authorities of FC can kill animals at will and cut trees for pleasure on land that...