Joost Fontein
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Remaking the dead, uncertainty and the torque of human materials in northern Zimbabwe

This chapter examines Zimbabwe's politics of the dead through analytical lenses emergent from theoretical debates about materiality. The politics of the dead in Zimbabwe long predates the grisly events at Chibondo that burst into the public arena in March 2011. In Zimbabwe the politics of heritage, memory and commemoration has been the subject of considerable academic and public debate for a long time. It is likely that some in Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) saw the political usefulness of the uncertainties provoked by the excessive potentiality of the human materials being exhumed from the Mount Darwin mines. The 'indeterminate alterity' of things or 'torque of materiality' indicates that the uncertainty that surrounds how and what human remains do in Zimbabwe's politics of the dead pre-exists or is immanent to questions about the ambivalent agency of bones and bodies as uneasy subject/objects.

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Governing the dead

Sovereignty and the politics of dead bodies



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