"The Church, missionaries, and the construction of black masculinities in Eastern Zimbabwe, in the first half of the 20th century" in Remembering Colonialism in Zimbabwe

Document Type

Chapter in a Book

Publication Date



This chapter explores the processes of inventing black male identities – masculinities, manhood, manliness, and men’s roles – and the role played by missionaries and black converts. It reveals how men talked about themselves in the process of striving for superior performative manliness. In doing so, the chapter avoids the historical blind spot of focusing on what men did to women rather than the actions of both male and female figures in shaping masculine identities. Instead, it argues that both women and men were ‘engendered and gendering subjects.’ The paper is based on the AMEC publications targeting the black converts, especially the African church magazine Umbowo WeHuKritsu.


"This book examines the various ways in which colonialism in Zimbabwe is remembered, looking both at how people analyse, perceive, and interpret the past, and how they rewrite that past, elevating some players and their historical agency. Inspired by the ongoing movement on decoloniality, this book examines the ways in which generations of today question and challenge colonialism's legacies and their role in Zimbabwe's collective memories and history. The book analyses the memorialising of both Mugabe and Mnangagwa in their speeches and during the political transition, before going on to trace the continuing impact of colonialism across areas as diverse as dress code, place-naming, agriculture, religion, gender, and in marginalised communities such as the BaKalanga. Drawing on the expertise of Zimbabwean scholars, this book will appeal to researchers of decolonisation, and of African history and memory"-- Provided by publisher.