Social Policy and the British Imperial Legacy
Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud
Chapter 7: The Poor Laws, Colonialism and Social Welfare: Social Assistance in Zimbabwe
Edwell Kaseke This chapter examines the influence of the English Poor Laws and colonialism on the provision of social assistance in Zimbabwe. It begins by providing an account of the colonization of Zimbabwe and an overview of the English Poor Laws. The chapter then proceeds to examine the provision of social assistance during the colonial and post-independence periods, reflecting on the influence of the Poor Laws and colonialism. The central argument in this chapter is that social assistance in Zimbabwe remains steeped in the tradition of the Poor Laws. This epitomizes Zimbabwe’s colonial legacy. Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, was colonized by the British in 1890. It remained a British colony until April 1980 when the country attained its independence. This was achieved after a protracted war of liberation which was spearheaded by the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) under Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) under Joshua Nkomo. The genesis of Zimbabwe’s colonial history is usually traced to the granting of mining concessions to Cecil John Rhodes of the British South Africa Company by King Lobengula, who was a traditional leader from the Matebeleland region of Zimbabwe. The British South Africa Company, having discovered huge deposits of gold in South Africa was optimistic that similar deposits would be found north of the Limpopo River, the land now called Zimbabwe. Initially, there was resistance from the indigenous population, but the white settlers were able to crush the resistance and this paved the way for the creation...
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