A social history of African dog-owners in Zimbabwe, 1890-2018

Dande, Innocent (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines the history of human-dog relations in Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe from 1890 to 2018. It argues that from the pre-colonial period, dogs have had a variety of significant but shifting relationships with human beings. The dissertation seeks to disrupt strictly anthropocentric or human-centred histories, by including dogs as historical subjects. It uses archival sources, traditional (vernacular) knowledge, literary sources, and newspapers as primary stories in reconstructing this history. Starting from the pre-colonial period, African-owned dogs have strayed between nature and culture, between being work animals and being pets, and between human settlement and wild environments, between their physical bodies and being spiritually significant animals or political metaphors. So they provide a previously unexplored vantage from which to understand changing agrarian, political, environmental and economic struggles in the past. This dissertation argues that in the pre-colonial period a variety of types of dogs from various sources ranged the Zimbabwean plateau and that the idea that a specific dog breed or even ‘type’ existed in southern Africa is an ahistorical and teleological imposition of western terms on the region. This thesis argues that dogs became central to understanding competing ideas held by (and about) different classes, races and genders. It focuses on how crises, like episodic outbreaks of rabies, altered human-dog and human-human relations in the country. It explores why colonial conservation ideologies sought to encourage Africans to keep ‘better and fewer’ dogs and what that meant for Africans and their dogs. It analyses how and why ideas of ‘dog breeds’ and ‘purity’ in dog breeding changed, examining the extent to which Africans accepted new ideas of dog breeds. It explores how the interaction of colonial ideas with ideas that came from African rural areas along with those of the African urban working. It also examines how all these dog-keeping practices created creolized dog breeding practises at different times in the country’s past. Zimbabweans have used dogs to think through issues that at first sight seem unrelated such as oppressions, tradition, colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, modernity, indigeneity and autochthony. Overall, the dissertation brings southern African dog histories into a productive historiographical conversation with those of the Global North and of the Middle East.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die proefskrif ondersoek die geskiedenis van die verhouding tussen die mens en honde in Suid-Rhodesië en Zimbabwe vir die periode 1890 tot 2018. Die proefskrif argumenteer dat honde sedert die pre-koloniale periode `n verskeidenheid betekenisvolle maar veranderende verhoudings met die mens gehad het. Die proefskrif poog om weg te beweeg van `n suiwer mensgesentreerde geskiedenis deur honde as historiese rolspelers in te sluit. Die studie maak gebruik van argivale bronne, tradisionele alledaagse kennis, literêre bronne en koerante as primêre narratiewe in die rekonstruksie van dié geskiedenis. Sedert die pre-koloniale periode het honde met Swart (African) eienaars gealterneer tussen die natuur en kultuur, tussen werksdiere en troeteldiere wees, tussen menslike nedersettings en natuurlike omgewings, tussen hulle fisieke liggame en hul rol as geestelik betekenisvolle diere of politieke metafore. Honde bied dus `n nog voorheen onverkende perspektief of vertrekpunt van waaruit veranderende landbou/agrariese, politieke, omgewings en ekonomiese weerstand verstaan kan word. Die proefskrif argumenteer dat in die pre-koloniale periode `n verskeidenheid tipes honde van diverse oorsprong op die Zimbabwe Plato voorgekom het en dat die idee dat `n spesifieke honderas of selfs `n “tipe” hond in suidelike Afrika voorgekom het `n a-historiese en teleologiese las was wat deur westerse opvattings op die streek afgedwing is. Die proefskrif argumenteer dat honde deurslaggewend geword het vir die begrip of verstaan van die verskillende idees/opvattings van (en oor) verskillende klasse, rasse en geslag/gender. Dit fokus op die wyse waarop krisisse soos die periodieke uitbreek van hondsdolheid verhoudings tussen mens en hond en mens en mens in die land verander het. Die proefskrif probeer bepaal waarom koloniale bewarings-ideologieë gepoog het om Swartmense (Africans) aan te moedig om “beter en minder” honde aan te hou en wat dit vir Swartmense (Africans) en hul honde beteken het. Dit analiseer hoe en waarom opvattings oor “honderasse” en “suiwerheid” in die teling van honde verander het en ondersoek die mate waarin nuwe idees of opvattings oor honderasse deur Swartmense (Africans) aanvaar is. Die proefskrif ondersoek hoe die interaksie tussen koloniale idees en idees vanuit die Swart (African) plattelandse gebiede saam met die van die Swart (African) stedelike werkers- en middelklasse gekreoliseerde hondetelingspraktyke in verskillende tydperke van die land se verlede tot gevolg gehad het. Zimbabwiërs het honde gebruik om oënskynlik onverwante kwessies soos onderdrukking, tradisie, kolonialisme, imperialisme, nasionalisme, moderniteit en inheemsheid te deurdink. Oorkoepelend stimuleer die proefskrif `n produktiewe historiografiese debat tussen die honde-geskiedenisse van Afrika en die van die Globale Noorde en die Midde Ooste.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107914
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