ISBN 9781779223180
Pages 482
Dimensions 234 x 156 mm
Published 2017
Publisher Weaver Press, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

Leading from Behind

Women in Community Development in Rhodesia, 1973-1979

by Maia Chenaux-Repond

Drawing on communications ‘rescued’ from the shredders in the last days of Rhodesia, enlivened by photographs and memories - both her own and those of her colleagues - Maia Chenaux-Repond tells the story of her work as the Provincial Community Development Officer (Women) for Mashonaland and South in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the 1970s. There are no records whatsoever in the National Archives of Zimbabwe about the Community Development Section (Women), even though it was active in all the provinces. In the absence of other documentary sources, and all other provincial officers long having emigrated or died, this account of her work fills a significant gap in the pre-independence history of Zimbabwe. The crucial focus of the Women’s Section on improving the lives and skills of women in the rural areas became progressively more difficult when the civil war intensified from the early 1970 as rural people - and the development workers themselves - were moved into ‘Protected Villages’, and as the Ministry became increasingly militarized.

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Review

"The narrative relating to the years of more intense warfare shows courageous women continuing in their development work through troubles and dangers, suffering the same upheavals that the people around them were facing, and remaining committed to their work. There are lessons and inspiration for all in these pages."

Michael Bourdillon, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Zimbabwe

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