Of dirt, disinfection and purgation: Discursive construction of state violence in selected contemporary Zimbabwean literature
Keywords:dirt, filth, disease, dissenting voices, state violence, power, nationalism, Zimbabwe, memory and belonging, discursive construction, Gukurahundi massacres, Operation Murambatsvina
This paper examines post-independent Zimbabwean literary narratives which engage with how the ruling ZANU-PF government frames dissenting voices as constituting dirt, filth and undesirability. Making use of Achille Mbembe's postulations on the "vulgarity of power" and Kenneth W. Harrow's readings of the politics of dirt, the central thesis of this paper is that the troping of dirt and state sponsored violence are closely related to the themes of memory and belonging. Literary works by writers such as Chistopher Mlalazi, NoViolet Bulawayo and John Eppel become self-effacing speech acts that are involved in reimagining and revisioning our understanding of power dynamics and how this affects human and social experiences.
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