This a report of conversations that took place in Zimbabwe in 2017. The conversations were convened as part of the requirement for the fulfilment of the KPREACH Learning programme of CAL. We divided the conversations into themes which ranged from (one) power, tokenism and the money, (two) the politics of naming and the term ‘kp’, (three) the politics of knowledge, research, language and consent, (four), power over our bodies and (five) wellbeing and wellness. We identified a number of implications that emerged from the conversation which are centred on building communities of care in the Zimbabwean context. We started the conversations by mapping up the current socio-political context of Zimbabwe as illustrated below.
What is this moment?
This is a moment of economic hostility that affects us differently
There seemed to be a collective understanding that we were living in a hostile environment in Zimbabwe, with the main marker of hostility being the economy with the secondary marker of hostility being the ongoing preparations for the national harmonised elections slated for 2018. Very early on, it became apparent that in a lot of our analysis of this moment, we’re thinking of this moment primarily as it relates to the economy and to the elections. Such an analysis of this moment was not necessarily rooted in a desire to engage on both fronts, sometimes, as will be discussed in the section below, this two pronged analysis was presented with some aversion. What was interesting to note is the way in which we didn’t seem to collectively have a political analysis of the economy, at least not one that was readily offered. It seemed to exist in the realm of national level politics of bread and butter issues which was interpreted as divorced from our day to day work. It was apparent from the space that not all of us had a critique of capitalism or neoliberalism, let alone an analysis of economic sanctions as an act of warfare under international law. It seemed as though we tended to collectively think of the economy as something with no particular rhyme or reason that just happened to us. There was however, a shared understanding of a bad economy affecting quality of life, of public services and of a sense of wellness.