"Zimbabwe: Challenging the Stereotypes" brings the story of Zimbabwe up-to-date (2014) in a dramatic, readable, firsthand description of thirty four years of Zimbabwe’s history by a South African academic, writer and arts educationist who went through it all – from Independence to the present. While it confirms some of the West’s criticisms, it offers a unique alternative viewpoint and questions a number of long-held and seldom challenged beliefs, including the almost universal cliché that at Independence Zimbabwe had everything going for it and threw it all away through bad government. It offers a fresh assessment of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s military involvement in the Congo, the Gukurahundi massacres in Matebeleland, sanctions, human rights, the rule of law, the media and culture in Zimbabwe and builds on recent research which demonstrates that the reality of the Land Reform and other aspects of the country’s recent history belie the unquestioned and widely-propagated myths. Extracts from pre-publication previews: “Anyone interested in Zimbabwe’s recent history should read this book...thoroughly recommended...” — Prof. Ian Scoones, University of Sussex, UK, co-author of Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities “Refreshingly daring, original, inventive and captivating,...highly controversial and likely to stir heated debate” — Prof. Micere Githae Mugo, Syracuse University, US, Kenyan poet, playwright and essayist, author of Writing and Speaking from the Heart of My Mind “Told with brutal honesty. A book all South Africans – and indeed all who wish to learn – must read” — Maishe Maponya, South African playwright and poet, author of The Hungry Earth and Gangsters.
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Rhodes Scholar, alumnus of Cape Town, Oxford and Leeds, fourth generation African, conversant in six African languages, published author, cultural activist and academic in South Africa, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, Dr Robert Malcolm McLaren (aka Robert Mshengu Kavanagh) is a South African who has lived in Zimbabwe from 1984 to the present. He has an M.Phil. from Oxford and a Ph.D. from Leeds. Instrumental in founding Theatre Arts Departments at the Universities of Addis Ababa and Zimbabwe and Founder and Director (1989-2010) of children’s arts education for development organization, the CHIPAWO Trust, currently Director of CHIPAWO World. Published books include: “The Making of a Servant”, translations of Xhosa satirical poetry with Z.S.Qangule (Baobab), "Theatre and Cultural Struggle in South Africa" (Zed Books), "Making People's Theatre" (Wits University Press), “South African People’s Plays” ed. (Heineman African Writers Series), “Ngoma: Approaches to Arts Education in Southern Africa” ed. (Zimbabwe Academy of Arts Education) and articles in many journals on topics relating to theatre, culture, politics and ideology.
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