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Revealing social dimensions of open space cultivation by older women in Harare : advancing a social planning… Gabel, Stephanie 2004

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REVEALING SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF O P E N S P A C E CULTIVATION BY OLDER W O M E N IN H A R A R E ADVANCING A SOCIAL PLANNING D ISCOURSE FOR UA by STEPHANIE G A B E L B.E.S., The University of Waterloo, 1999 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF MASTER OF A R T S (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (School of Community and Regional Planning) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November 2004 © Stephanie Gabel, 2004 ABSTRACT This research on urban agriculture in Harare, Zimbabwe highlights women's ideas, needs, concerns and agency, contextualising these findings through an investigation of the institutional and policy environment governing the practice of open space cultivation in the city. A feminist methodology provides an overall framework, while also incorporating ethnomethodology and participatory research methodologies to highlight the broader social, political and cultural contexts of urban agriculture. A multi-method approach was adopted that included the use of semi-structured interviewing, focus groups, strategic meetings, participatory methods, visioning interviews and action methods (such as field trips, creating a stakeholder forum, and organising income generating projects). Findings from this research have been used to develop a gender-aware history of women and urban agriculture (UA) in Harare. Key findings show that the forms of organisation for open space cultivation (SOSC) developed by older women have been historically unacknowledged, ignored, and impeded by those with decision making power, most often male elites. Nine legal channels available for SOSC in Harare are uncovered in the research, dispelling the myth that UA is an illegal activity in the City. This research further elaborates on the impacts of legal ambiguity that have resulted in conflicts between various land tenure systems and categories, demonstrating the serious governance challenges at the heart of developing supportive policy development for U A in the City. The voices of women are used to illuminate the dire need for local and neighbourhood level leadership, and the importance of addressing the cultural context in which UA is imbedded. A discussion of planning and governance in Harare reveals the exclusionary practices that operate to make the work of women, their U A and land based livelihoods invisible in planning practice and city decision making. The research shows the potential for shifting planning practice and discourse toward more people centred, democratic forms of planning for UA. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Tables, Maps and Figures v List of Abbreviations vi Acknowledgements vii CHAPTER I 1 1.1 Introduction 1 1.2 Definitions 3 1.3 Research Focus 5 1.4 Research Context & Participants 10 CHAPTER II A Methodology for Uncovering Social Contexts in UA Systems 2.1 Introduction 14 2.2 Overview of Methodologies & Methods in UA Research 14 2.3 Towards an Alternative Epistemology in U A Research 17 2.4 Feminist Ethnography & Participatory Action Research 20 2.5 Methods 25 2.6 Closing 30 CHAPTER III Making Women Visible: A History of Women & Open Space Cultivation in Harare 3.1 Introduction 32 3.2 Colonialism, Post-Colonialism & Gender Relations 32 3.3 Highfield, a High-Density Suburb Amidst Open Spaces 38 3.4 Women & the History of Open Space Cultivation 41 3.5 Growing Up a Women in Colonial Zimbabwe 48 3.6 Historical Roots of Land Alienation of Urban Women 56 3.7 Closing 60 CHAPTER IV At the Neighbourhood Scale, There is Strength in Enterprising Women 4.1 Introduction 63 4.2 The Contributions & Strengths of Enterprising Women 63 4.3 Patterns of Urban Land Access & Acquisition 76 4.4 Women Organising- Organising Women 86 4.5 Closing 92 CHAPTER V Women's Harvests, Technical Constraints And Requirements in Urban Farming 5.1 Introduction 95 5.2 Production Inputs & Outputs 95 5.3 Hired & Family Labour 106 5.4 Benefits & Constraints to Cultivation 108 5.5 Identifying Needs for SOSC 111 CHAPTER VI Policy & Local Governance: Women, Cultivation & Confrontation 6.1 Introduction 115 6.2 Women, Status & Governance 116 6.3 U A & SOSC Policy 120 6.4 The Unveiling of a Myth: The Legality of U A 123 6.5 Impacts of Legal Ambiguity on What Happens on the Ground 135 6.6 SOSC as Protest to Poor Governance in Harare 139 6.7 Closing 146 CHAPTER VII Women, Planning & Power: Grounds for Insurgency 7.1 Introduction 149 7.2 Planning in the UA Literature 149 7.3 Colonial & Post Colonial Planning in Harare 152 7.4 Gendered Rules of Exclusion 155 7.5 Approaches to Planning for U A in Harare 163 7.6 Closing: On Planning & Power 170 CHAPTER VIII Insights from Research on U A in Harare 8.1 Introduction 173 8.2 Emerging Themes 175 8.3 Possible Applications of the Research Findings 182 8.4 Re-Imagining the City of Harare 189 Bibliography 192 Appendix One: Profiles of Partners and Research Assistants 208 Appendix Two: Weaknesses of the Research 216 Appendix Three: Poem "Fio" Memories of Highfield 218 Appendix Four: Data Collection Sheets for Documenting U A 220 Appendix Five: Summary of Farming Inputs 226 Appendix Six: Workshop Presentation Summary of Women's U A Needs 230 Appendix Seven: Overview of Policies Related to U A 231 Appendix Eight: Western Planning Theory. Overview 235 Appendix Nine: Summary of U A Interest & Activities in 2000-2001 242 Appendix Ten: Resource List and Contacts for UA in Zimbabwe 243 Appendix Eleven: John Forester's Table of Power and Communication 249 Appendix Twelve: A Collaborative Action Based Intervention for Harare 250 LIST OF TABLES, MAPS AND FIGURES List of Tables 2.1 Summary of Primary Data Sources 30 3.1 Documentation of UA Prior to 1980 43 3.2 Visibility of Women's Agriculture Over Time 47 3.3 Personal Information & Urban Residency of Women 55 4.1 Summary of Entrepreneurial Income Generating Work 65 4.2 Summary of Land Occupancy Patterns 77 5.1 Estimates from Seven Farmers Growing Seasons for 2000-2001 79 5.2 Information of Production Costs & Women's Farming Practices 99 5.3 Additional Labour Contributions for 2000-2001 Harvest 107 5.4 Identified Needs of Older Women Cultivators 112 6.1 Protocols to Facilitate Legal SOSC in Mutare 124 6.2 Summary of Options to Legal Access to U A 129 List of Maps Map of Zimbabwe 10 Map of Harare 46 List of Figures 1.1 Cartoon 1 4.1 Tacheometric Survey of Urban Fields 79 6.1 No Opportunities for Participation 140 6.2 Reasons Why Women Are Not Consulted 141 6.3 Uncovering Ways to Promote Support 142 6.4 Women's Ideas on Being Consulted and Involved 143 7.1 Sample From Interview with a City Planner 168 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS IDRC: International Development Research Centre IMF: International Monetary Fund MDP: Municipal Development Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa NGO: Non Governmental Organisation RUAF: Resource Centre for Urban Agriculture and Forestry SOSC: Subsistence Open Space Cultivation UA: Urban Agriculture vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Completing this degree has been an incredible journey. There are many people who have supported and inspired me along the way and this is a small gesture to mention some of them. Special thanks to all my friends and family for their continuous support that fills me with love and inspiration on a daily basis. I could write volumes about you! Thanks for listening, for caring, for feeding me, for supporting fundraisers, for looking out for me... really, there's too much that you do! Special thanks to the seven women of Highfield who extended their friendship and support to work with me. They represent the heart of this thesis. Special thanks to the few who took time out of their busy lives to actually read some of my work and provide critical feedback along the way, including my thesis committee members; Nora Angeles, Peter Boothroyd, Juanita Sundberg, and additionally, Diana Lee-Smith, Ola Smith and the anonymous reviewer, the book reviewers, Kara McDonald, Tanja Winkler, Mieke Delfgaauw, Michael Leaf, Mee Lain, and my dad (professor of armchair wisdom). Special thanks to George Matovu and Shingarayi Mushamba at MDP for their extra special support, encouragement and for making me feel like one of the team. Your dedication to collegiality and collaboration continues to inspire me. Special thanks to Mary Kabelele and Mutizwa Mukute (PELUM Zimbabwe), as well as Godfrey Mudimu (Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, the University of Zimbabwe) for their generous and instrumental support in helping me get my field work started in Zimbabwe. Special thanks to the Agropolis Selection Committee for 2000, and the Agropolis fundors who made my field work possible, as well as to the Canadian Institute of Planners for their financial contribution through their student scholarship awards in 2000. Special thanks to Wendy Story at CFP- IDRC who made receiving a research grant feel so personable, as well as Luc Mougeot for his sincere interest and support of work and ideas of students. And the rest of the CFP staff who make Agropolis happen and keep the UA field compassionate. Special thanks to my fabulously inspiring friends who participated as research assistants during my field work in Zimbabwe: Tendayi Mutimukuru, Shepherd Siziba, Regina Rashayi, Tafadzwa Mupfawa, and Sibognile Kufa. vii Special thanks to all those in Zimbabwe who took time to meet with me, be interviewed, share resources and ideas, and to those who offered encouragement along the way... to name just a few, Mathew Chihoro, Mrs Charumbira, Ethel Mlalazi and Daniel Sithole. To those who helped to mediate the bureaucratic challenges of academia that snarled me on several occasions, even at the very end... Tony Dorcy, Nora Angeles, Godfrey Mudimu, Wendy Story, Kara McDonald, Bruce Miller, and Alice Hovorka. Want to send a special thanks to the folks at RUAF- notably Henk de Zeeuw and Rene van Veenhuizen. Special thanks to Alice Hovorka, Adriana Premat, Danielle Schami, Nicoliene Oudwater, Isaac Chaipa, Shepherd Siziba who offered their support and inspired me through their own research in UA. Special thanks to Aileen Anderson, Tanja Winkler, Joy Chadya, George Povey, Gerrit McGowan, Lama Mugabo, Kara McDonald, Lisa Thomas-Tench, Peggy Frank and the UBC Africa Network who care about what happens in Africa and shared their interests and passions with me. Knowing they are out there has made me feel less alone while I write so far away from life in Zimbabwe. Want to thank Mike Levenston and Pierre Paul Perron for taking an active interest in my work. I want to acknowledge the support of the UBC library staff especially Yani Mitchell. Want to thank all my scarp mates who kept me going during my first year of grad school. To my 'precious motivators' out there, Kara McDonald, Kerne Engler, Lou Black, Tafadzwa Mupfawa, Tanja Winkler, Barb Halberg, Richard and Sheila Gabel, Bain Dean, Peggy Frank, Mee lain Ling and My Victoria James Bay Kindreds-1 am indebted to you for your support during these last months. Lastly, I want to send a thank you to those whose writings continue to inspire me. The list is too long to share here. I have been profoundly changed and inspired by all of the people and events throughout these past five years. I feel as full of hope, energy and love as the day it all began- that could have only happened because of each of you. I am grateful to you all. viii CHAPTER I Revealing the Social Dimensions of Open Space Cultivation by Older Women in Harare ADVANCING A SOCIAL PLANNING DISCOURSE FOR U A I.MFOFU. I Figure 1.1 Cartoon title: Preparations, The Herald, May 26, 2000 INTRODUCTION It is believed that urban cultivation in Zimbabwe dates back to the formation of the first colonial cities (Mudimu 2001). Within the last decade, the practice has gained greater importance within Harare due to increasing urban food insecurity, concerns over environmental degradation of land and water, competition from other land uses and its popularity as a long standing practice to residents. Few attempts have been made to contextualise, or explain the practice of open space cultivation before the 1990s, which had been largely predominated by women. The cartoon introducing this chapter portrays a woman going off to her urban field, while a city official sharpens his scythe in preparation of receiving his maize slashing orders from the City, capturing a well known and enduring conflict between the largely male City officials and black women farmers. As of 2002, there 1 were no policies that specifically addressed the needs of black women who produce food on open spaces, nor specific strategies to incorporate them into the decision making processes or policy circles that were underway to legalise the practice. Despite its long history as a land use, local authorities and planners had not recognised urban agriculture (UA) as a legitimate practice or land-use within the city post independence, citing economic efficiency, environmental, safety and aesthetic reasons (Mbiba 2000, 1995, 1994, Gumbo 2000, Bowyer-Bower et al. 1996, ENDA 1997, Drakakis-Smith, Bowyer-Bower and Tevera 1995). Further, the over emphasis on physical and formal sector planning, regulation, control, and enforcement have created tensions between women cultivators and city authorities, especially when city authorities slash maturing maize crops (Mudimu 1996, Mbiba 1995, ENDA 1997, Martin, Oudwater and Meadows 2000, Rakodi 1995). The research and data shared in this thesis explores in greater depth, possible explanations for the enduring conflicts between "Farming Mothers", the largely women cultivators and the "Founding Fathers", the predominantly male city decision makers pre and post independence in Harare. Stories of black women and urban open space cultivation have not really been told or explained yet despite the long history of urban residency by women, a further indicator of the marginalisation of women as history makers, as academics, as city and community builders. Zimbabwe represents a young and emerging democracy (twenty-five years old) where the legacy of authoritarianism, imperialism, and race- and class-based conflicts have a strong influence on what happens at the local level today. Women's participation in creating democratic institutions and processes is severely constrained by cultural, legal, economic and political practices that subordinate their status to that of men within and outside the home. Women have been systematically excluded from formal sites of power and influence. Within this context, it does not seem that surprising to uncover sites of women's resistance. Women's increasing participation in open space cultivation, despite its ambiguous and illegal status as a form of land use, captures rather poignantly the gendered struggle of women in asserting their influence in two economic, cultural and domestic realms: food provisioning and motherhood. Far from just representing an urban land use or occupation for women in Harare, urban open space cultivation also represents a symbolic struggle between men and women that is historically and culturally rooted. 2 This thesis not only tries to expose and explain these gendered relationships that form integral aspects of urban agricultural systems in Harare; it also broadens the conceptualisation and definition of urban agriculture within the field more generally. As developed and applied within this thesis, U A could equally be defined as a cultural and social process that involves the use of urban and peri-urban land by citizens, organisations, governments and the private sector for agricultural and agricultural related purposes. U A is reflective of cultural and social processes that convey the historical development of cities, revealing through land use an urban environment composed of many inter-related and complex social, economic, environmental, political dynamics. U A is also a site of inquiry into the relationships between humans and our built and natural environments, as well as between our bureaucracies and institutions, illuminating stories that often remain hidden or unacknowledged in prominent accounts of city formation. DEFINITIONS For those who already know that agriculture is, and has been for centuries, an activity carried out in many cities around the globe the pairing of the words urban and agriculture represents not only an accurate designation of one of many urban functions in cities, but also a highly complex, diversified and contested area of 'lived experience' and academic inquiry (Mougeot 2000a, Smit et al. 1996, Hough 1995, Mougeot 1994a, Lee-Smith and Memon 1994, Eisler 1987, Mumford, 1961). The academic study of UA, and UA's subsequent uptake into the agendas of the international development industry can be traced to research undertaken in the 1950s by Vennetier in the Congo (Mougeot 1994c). Writings and research under the umbrella of urban and peri-urban agriculture (UA) are extensive, in terms of focus and volume. They have touched upon areas as diverse as waste management, food security, land tenure, animal husbandry, health and nutrition, urban ecology, water resource management and urban planning and governance. In fact, almost any aspect that one could think of within the domain of 'urban' issues could be explored with respect to urban agriculture in some way or 3 another.1 Descriptions of urban agriculture have become quite extensive to date; many of them define the practice of U A as an activity or an industry. A widely known and referenced definition of U A is: "an industry that produces, processes and markets food and fuel, largely in response to the daily demand of consumers within town, city or metropolis, on land and water dispersed throughout the urban and peri-urban area, applying intensive production methods, using and reusing natural resources and urban wastes, to yield a diversity of crops and livestock" (Smit et al., 1996, 3). A variety of similarly conceptualised definitions also exist. 2 This thesis proposes that U A is not just an activity or industry, but a cultural process infused with an elaborate entanglement of gender relations and dynamics, race politics, as well as social and class strife, a definition that may help to encourage greater depth and reach in our descriptive and analytical accounts, and our approaches to welcoming and integrating U A within our cities. Additionally, like cities, U A processes are dynamic and evolve over time, while activities may be represented in more discrete terms for categorisation and classification, at times lending themselves to oversimplification and reductionism. This expansion (not a replacement) of the more common definition of U A creates more avenues from which to explore the meaning and functions of cities, as well as the meaning and functions of U A to real people. This research provides a conceptualisation of urban open space cultivation based on such a definition of U A , building new constructs with which to interpret the ways that women, and their use of open spaces for cultivation, have shaped urbanisation in Harare. The term Urban Agriculture as applied in Zimbabwe has generally been defined according to location (Mbiba 1995). The categories are on-plot, off-plot, and peri-urban agriculture (Mbiba 1995, E N D A 1997, Mudimu et al. 1996).3 This research looks at a specific type of off-plot cultivation, which I have called Subsistence Open Space Cultivation 1 Key books on UA include Bakker, Nico, et al. (2000), Growing Cities, Growing Food: UA on the Policy Agenda; Koc, Mustafa, et al. (1999), For Hunger Proof Cities, Smit et al. (1996), UA: Food Jobs and Sustainable Cities; Egziabher, Axumite, et al. (1994), Cities Feeding People: An Examination of Urban Agriculture in East Africa, as well as the Urban Agriculture Magazine produced by RU AF. 2 Refer to Quon's (1999) compendium of definitions of UA for further reference. 3 On-plot refers to agricultural production that occurs on a residential stand, while off-plot is a broader category referrring to production that occurs on privately or publicly owned open spaces. 4 (SOSC). The term helps to differentiate between various forms of off-plot cultivation that occurs in Harare, notably those between income/class, race groupings, and orientation to local markets and exports. SOSC is a form of off-plot agriculture that entails the cultivation of subsistence food crops and staples, primarily maize and vegetables, for household consumption, on undeveloped public or private land that is not legally owned by the person cultivating, by those who are of the landless, working poor and of black African populations. Therefore, within this research the term UA will be used to discuss the field of urban agriculture more generally, and SOSC will be used when directly speaking about the particular type of urban agriculture upon which this study is focused. R E S E A R C H F O C U S Low income groups and the poor are engaged in UA, and in most cases are over represented in proportion to other income groups (Mougeot 1999b, Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, IDRC 1998). This is particularly noted in UA papers focused on African cities (Mougeot 1994c, Sawio 1993, Foeken and Mwangi 2000, Lee-Smith and Memon 1994, Wekwete 1993, Greenhow 1994). Research has concluded that economic necessity is making various forms of UA a survival strategy of the poor and low-income households.4 Some segments of the population engage in UA because they have no other means available to them, and are considered marginalised or distinct groups in the literature. These groups often include those of very low income, the poorest, as female headed households, widows, families abandoned by the primary wage earner, the land insecure, or simply as 'women' (Maxwell 1994, Foeken and Mwangi 2000, Kreinecker 2000, Smit, Ratta and Nasr, Bradford et al 2002, Nunan 2000). It has long been recognised in many countries, particularly within Sub-Saharan Africa, that women predominate in UA systems as farmers, on or off-plot.5 UA has been considered within the literature a major economic sector that generates jobs and income for 4 Refer to Sawio 1994b, Egziabher 1994, Jacobi et al 2000, Kreinecker 2000, Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, Chimbowu and Gumbo 1993, Gupta 2002, Atukunda 1998, Greenhow 1994, Lamba 1993, Sawio 1993, IDRC 1998. 5 Refer to Mbiba 2000, 1995, Mudimu 1996, Foeken and Mwangi 2000, Nunan 2000, Tinker 1994, Sawio 1994b, Sawio 1993, Buechler, Devi and Rashid 2002, Bradford et al. 2002a, Drescher 1999, Lee-Smith and Lamba 1998, Maxwell et al. 1998, Smit 1996, Sawio 1994a, Bohrt 1993, Lamba 1993, Yasmeen 2001, Strieffeler 1987, Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, Kreinecker 2000, Maxwell 1994, Lee-Smith and Memon 1994, Atukunda 1998, Kaspersma 2002. 5 women (Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, Wekwete 1993, Lee-Smith and Memon 1994). Often the involvement of women in U A is discussed as overlapping or complementing women's reproductive responsibilities within the home, such as childcare and food provisioning.6 Some case studies suggest that in households where Women are involved in UA, more resources go into the home, and children are ensured better access to food and better nutrition (Drescher 1999, Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, Yasmeen 2001, Kreinecker 2000, Mougeot 1999a, Streiffeler 1987, Esrey and Anderson 2001).7 Lee-Smith and Memon (ibid., 83) contend that urban fanning is "one of the ways the domestic economy functions for survival in modern Africa. The domestic economy of the urban poor is an intricate mix of productive and reproductive activities. No urban programs, policy or planning can work without an understanding of the complex character of this economy". Many cities however create further baniers to urban cultivation in general and women's cultivation in particular by designating U A an illegal activity, providing no resources or access to a land use that is deemed important to women (Lamba 1993). Some researchers suggest that the neglect of U A is perhaps conelated with the domination of women within this sector and hence, urban agriculture and the productive work of women become economically marginalised or trivialised (Lee-Smith and Memon 1994, Mbiba 1995). Such conclusions have also been drawn by Horn (1994, 1997) in her research of women's marketing and vending of produce in Harare. Moreover, the U A literature is abundant with references to the constraints women face in undertaking U A 8 , in particular their challenges to securing land access and title. In Zimbabwe, Moyo (1995, 15) claims that "indeed women constitute a sizeable proportion of the landless within urban areas of Zimbabwe". Gaidzanwa (1992) and Mgugu (in CORE 2001) also confirm the challenges black Zimbabwean women face in obtaining land in cities. 6 Refer to Lima et ei. 2000, Lee-Smith and Memon 1994, Lee-Smith and Lamba 1998, Yasmeen 2001, Mougeot 2000a, Mougeot 1999a, Sawio 1994b, Hovorka 2001, Mawoneke and King 1998, Jacobi, Amend and Kiango 2000, Sachs and Silks 1985. 7 For example, during household surveys conducted in 1996 to 1997 in Harare and Gweru (Zimbabwe), growth rates (measuring height and weight) of children under five years were found to be greater for children of urban farmers than children of non-farming households (Mawoneke and King 1998). 8 See Spies 1998, Hovorka 1998, Quon 1998, van Hirtum, Goewie and Getachew 2002, Lima et al 2000, Cavric and Mosha 2001, Lamba 1993, Hasna 1998, Mawoneke and King 1998, Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, Lee-Smith and Lamba 1998, Mougeot 1999a, Nugent 2000, IDRC 1998; Bradford, Brook and Hunshal 2002. 6 Despite all these challenges, women in Harare, through their social networks, have created and sustained an urban land tenure system on open spaces for at the very least, fifty years. Although there are many writings, and casual references to gender in the literature on urban agriculture, very little attention has been given to gender analysis, especially gender relations and dynamics. As noted by Martin, Oudwater and Giindel in their comprehensive review of methodologies used in urban agriculture research (2002, 10) "Methodologies for exploring gender relations and urban agriculture are discussed in surprisingly little of the literature (Slater, 2001), although the predominance of women in the agricultural labour force is well documented". Hasna (1998) and Hovorka (1998, 2001) have developed reviews on gender and U A 9 , both prompting for more work to discuss why and how gender relations are implicated in UA. Hovorka (2001) advocates that future U A research should address geographic scale and difference. Geographic scale refers not only to intra-household gender relations but also "organisational, legal and political structures and ideas that reinforce gender differences and inequalities" (Hovorka ibid., 170). Difference can be recognised in research by addressing how gender, class, age, culture, race, as well as other important concepts influence context specific conditions. In Harare, Zimbabwe, U A research has just scratched the surface of applying some of these more complex axes of analysis. The works of Mbiba (1995, 2000) and Mudimu (1996) sought in part to raise awareness of women's participation in SOSC in Harare. Research on U A in Harare has well established the importance of the practice in terms of its economic benefits to households (Gumbo 2000, ENDA 1997, Mudimu, Siziba and Hanyani-Mlambo 1998). There is however a need to undertake more systematic research into how the practice and impacts of UA are embedded within gendered socio-cultural contexts, political institutions, systems of governance, and planning practice. This research thus aims to address the following questions. 1. What are the broader historical, political, economic and cultural contexts, and their gender implications and impacts that have shaped the practice of urban agriculture, particularly the struggles and conflicts between predominantly women cultivators - the 9 Hasna;s (1998) review included overviews on UA research and NGO involvement in the African cities of Harare, Kampala and Accra. 7 " F a r m i n g M o t h e r s " - a n d the large ly m a l e c i ty off ic ia ls - "the F o u n d i n g Fathers" in H a r a r e ? 2. W h a t are o lder b l a c k w o m e n ' s experiences o f subsistence o p e n space cu l t ivat ion in the C i t y o f H a r a r e ? In part icular, h o w do they experience c i ty po l i c i e s , var ious forms o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n to land ownersh ip a n d tenure, a n d barriers to cont inued cu l t ivat ion? W h a t forms o f soc ia l networks a n d s o c i o - e c o n o m i c strategies have they been us ing to counter such barriers a n d po l i c i e s? 3. W h a t are the se l f -def ined realities a n d needs o f w o m e n w h o engage in subsistence o p e n space cu l t ivat ion in H a r a r e ? H o w c a n we situate w o m e n ' s se l f -def ined realities and needs w i th in the broader soc ia l , cu l tura l , e c o n o m i c , po l i t i ca l , governance a n d p l a n n i n g structures and re lat ionships? 4. W h a t alternative forms o f gender-aware p l a n n i n g , po l i c i e s a n d r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s might be appropriate to promote U A as a legit imate f o r m o f l i v e l i h o o d strategy o f w o m e n and the urban p o o r in the C i t y o f H a r a r e ? T h e s e research quest ions are addressed i n the next chapters w h i c h are organised as fo l lows: Chapter Two: A Methodology For Uncovering Social Contexts In U A Systems C h a p t e r two expla ins the theoretical a n d ep i s temolog ica l f r a m e w o r k o f this research. E t h n o m e t h o d o l o g y a n d part ic ipatory research methodo log ie s were used to define a n d c o m p l e m e n t the ut i l i sat ion o f a feminist m e t h o d o l o g y as an overa l l f r a m e w o r k o f this study. A m u l t i - m e t h o d a p p r o a c h was adopted, and i n c l u d e d the use o f semi-s tructured in terv iewing , focus groups, strategic meet ings , part ic ipatory methods , v i s i o n i n g interviews and act ion methods ( such as field trips, creat ing a stakeholder f o r u m , a n d organ i s ing i n c o m e generat ing projects). Chapter Three: Making Women Visible: A Long History Of Women and Open Space Cultivation in Harare, Zimbabwe C h a p t e r three attempts to write a gendered his tory o f w o m e n a n d U A in Harare . T h i s chapter contextual ises the pract ice o f S O S C b y sharing current and histor ical in format ion about Z i m b a b w e , H a r a r e and the n e i g h b o u r h o o d where the w o m e n l ive . T h e chapter introduces the w o m e n a n d their m i g r a t i o n f r o m their rural h o m e s and their agricultural backgrounds , to Harare , d o c u m e n t i n g their lengthy u r b a n res idency a n d the beg innings o f their cu l t ivat ion activit ies. 8 Chapter Four: At The Neighbourhood Scale, There Is Strength In Enterprising Women The women's support and friendship networks are described in this chapter, revealing the ways women have gained access to work, fields and incomes outside the home, and the importance this work has played to the well being of their households, even today when they are respectfully considered 'old'. It provides more detail of the customary land tenure system created by some urban women, and discusses the different ways the women access land. Key findings show that the open space cultivation developed by these women is indeed 'organised', and that such forms of organisation have been historically unacknowledged, ignored, and impeded by those with decision making power, most often male elites. Chapter Five: Women's Harvests, Technical Constraints and Requirements in Urban Farming The cultivation activities of seven women and their self-identified needs during their 2001 harvests are discussed. The chapter highlights the diversity of activities that are affiliated with undertaking open space cultivation, the amounts the women harvested and shared, the financial costs and challenges to undertaking cultivation on open spaces. Chapter Six: Policy and Local Governance Issues: Women, Cultivation and Confrontation This chapter discusses the legal channels available for SOSC in Harare, dispelling the myth that UA is an illegal activity in the City. The impacts of legal ambiguity have resulted in land conflicts between various SOSC land tenure systems and categories and these are elaborated upon to demonstrate the serious governance challenges at the heart of supportive policy development for U A in the City. The voices of women are used to illuminate the dire need for local and neighbourhood level leadership, and the importance of addressing the cultural context in which SOSC is imbedded. Chapter six incorporates findings from over thirty professionals working within the municipality, non-governmental organisations (NGO's), academia and national government, 81% of whom were men. Chapter Seven: Planning, Governance & Power: Grounds for Insurgency A background on colonial and post colonial planning is provided in chapter seven to situate the type of planning undertaken in Harare and the exclusionary practices that operate to make the work of women, SOSC and land based livelihoods invisible in planning practice 9 and city decision making. Further, this chapter also shows the potential for shifting planning practice and discourse toward more progressive forms. Chapter Eight: Conclusions and Recommendations The chapter highlights findings from each of the chapters. Chapter eight also contributes recommendations related to key findings and shares ideas of how modest interventions could help to build up weakened local governance institutions by involving older women, addressing the cultural and social dimensions of SOSC and UA, and utilising the strengths that already exist in communities and the diverse forms of organisation found in the city. R E S E A R C H C O N T E X T & PARTICIPANTS Zimbabwe Map 1 (CIA World Fact Book 2004) Zimbabwe gained its independence from the ruling minority of British white settlers in 1980. It has a population of 12.6 million people, and an annual population growth rate of 10 about 1%10 (CIA World Fact Book 2004), with 37% of the population living in urban areas (UNICEF 2004). Agriculture is a leading sector, contributing 40% to export earnings, while 60% of Zimbabwe's industry is agriculturally based (CORE 2001). Land in Zimbabwe is categorised into seven land tenure categories: resettlement areas, communal areas, state owned farms, national parks and forests, large scale commercial farms (freehold), small scale commercial farms (state land) (CORE 2001), and urban areas. Approximately 8.4% of the land is arable (CIA World Fact Book 2004). There are indigenous ethnic divisions that influence the countries political and cultural climate. In very broad terms, the country has two main ethnic groupings, the Shona (82%), and the Ndebele (14%). Other ethnic populations include a small white population (less than 1%), mixed race and Asian descent (l%o), as well as other African ethnic groups (2%). One of the most cited reasons for the increase in urban food production in Zimbabwe is attributed to national economic hardships arising from the structural adjustment programs (SAP's) imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank that were put in place in the early 1990's (Drakakis-Smith, Bowyer-Bower and Tevera 1995, Mudimu 1996). Since then, the controversial fast track land resettlement program, the land occupations on white owned farms by war veterans that began in 1999, and the drought conditions in recent years, (as well as a host of other topical issues) have contributed to increasing political and economic strife, as well as human and food insecurity across the country. It is estimated that food access remains very difficult for 2.5 million urban people (Moyo 2004). There is also the tragedy of 1800 to 3000 Zimbabweans losing their lives to HIV/AIDS every week (Moyo 2004), as well as from TB, malaria, hunger and malnutrition, reducing the life expectancy at birth to only 38 years old (CIA World Fact Book 2004). Harare: The Field Research Site Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe and is home to just under 2 million people (World Gazeetter 2004). The city has a compact downtown that practically shuts down for the night as there are no urban residential high-rises within this almost exclusive commercial and business core. There are tree-lined streets, a formal town square with public fountain 1 0 This national population growth rate is quite low and reflects the devastating impacts of deaths from HIV/AIDS, and its related illnesses, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. 11 found outside the parliamentary buildings and the ritzy Miekles Hotel. There are generous public gardens in close walking distance to places where public gatherings and concerts are hosted. In 2000 and 2001, Harare was still managing to host wonderful international, regional and national cultural events, such as the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Fair, the Zimbabwe National Jazz Festival and the Zimbabwe International Film Festival. The streets are not overly congested but in the southern parts of downtown, there is a visible increase in the number of people, street vendors and public markets. A visitor will note that few white Zimbabweans are seen downtown, but the white population will be more visible in the low density commercial shopping districts found in the city. Generally, suburbs are categorised as high-density, medium density and low density, correlating with an inverse relationship with income. These suburbs have a geographical division with high-density suburbs located in the west and south of the city, and the low-density suburbs occupying the northern portions of the city. While most ethnic groups are represented in the medium and low-density suburbs, high-density suburbs are generally home to the majority of the black Zimbabwean population. Although Zimbabwe has a predominantly rural population, rural-to-urban migration has become a serious issue for Harare as it grapples with a growth rate between 5 and 7% (ZWRCN-SARDC 1998) as well as a chronic housing shortage (Mbiba 1995). Unfortunately, this rate increased rapidly in 2002 as a result of internal displacement from drought and political and economic instability, conditions that have continued into 2004. In recent reports, trends show inward movement of people from rural areas due to political violence, and outward migration from Harare to new resettlement areas, as well as to avoid high rentals in urban areas (FOSENET NGO Food Security Network 2004). In the past few years, food prices have soared due to numerous factors including, political, environmental and social crises. Prices of some staple commodities, like tomatoes and rape, were known to rise more than 100% in the course of just one week in 2001 (Financial Gazette 2001a, 2001b). Maize meal prices were ten times higher in January 2004 than they were in January 2003 (FOSENET NGO Food Security Network, 2004, 5), and at times people had to either queue, or purchase it at much higher prices on the parallel market due to its lack of availability. Other commodities such as sugar, oil, washing soap, and bread are now unaffordable for many low-income families. There are both fuel and 12 currency shortages that have literally destabilised and closed many businesses, thereby increasing the numbers of unemployed men and women. Unemployment rates in the country range from 70% to 80% (CIA World Fact Book 2004). During the 1990s open space cultivation has increased as a means of dealing with these shortages and hardships. Mbiba (2000) claims in recent years that the poor and vulnerable groups are being pushed out from opportunities to engage in open space cultivation by higher income groups whose standards of living have been collapsing. These trends continue to occur, and land conflicts and land grabbing are being witnessed in the city, creating worrisome trends. Research Participants The fieldwork was carried out in two five month visits to Harare, Zimbabwe from August 2000- December 2000, and May 2001- September 2001. During my second field visit in 2001, I worked as an intern with the Municipal Development Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa within their Urban Agriculture Programme. Research was conducted with a group of seven urban women farmers, most of whom were in their middle to late 50s. Interviews and focus group discussions with these women were conducted with the help of several research assistants who speak the local dialects and have professional and academic experience. On the surface, this group of women might appear to some as homogeneous, as they are all black Africans similar in age, resided in their own homes", lived within several blocks of one another, cultivated in the city, and four of the seven were the heads of their households. As the research methods permitted close and continuous association, various differences in life histories, personalities, adversities, interests and visions began to emerge. I advocated for and with these women, given my opportunities to participate within professional and policy forums that permitted access to over fifty professionals, academics and government employees. The study also incorporates findings from meetings and interviews with over thirty professionals, including eleven individuals with planning backgrounds. I also had local NGO and academic partners, as well as a team of research assistants (profiles are located in Appendix 1). The methodological framework used and issues encountered in this research are further explored in the next chapter. " I can not claim these women were home owners as many women in Zimbabwe do not have the title in their own names 13 CHAPTER II A Methodology for Uncovering Social Contexts in UA Systems I N T R O D U C T I O N The literature on U A has generally just begun to provide coverage of its methods and methodologies. Through this research, I have gained an increased interest in exploring the appropriate methodologies for including gender and examining the lives of women within UA systems. A methodology comprises the underlying philosophical assumptions and principles about epistemology and ontology framing research. These are important aspects to engage in and are worth mentioning in even more condensed papers. There is a need to be attentive to the methodologies we employ, and the methods we use, as these are the mechanisms and tools made available to researchers to develop models of inclusion and participation that are context specific. These are ways researchers can assist to democratise the decision-making processes at work, and to legitimise the roles of real everyday subsistence farmers. This seems especially important within contexts where governance structures are weak, and the politics of exclusion are institutionalised, such as in Harare. As a great deal of time and money is invested in research and dissemination on 'the poor' and 'marginalised', accountability to those who we research about deserves more attention and the inclusion of innovative and imaginative methodologies and methods can play a role. O V E R V I E W O F M E T H O D O L O G I E S & M E T H O D S IN U A R E S E A R C H The literature on U A has just begun to reflect on methodology and theory, despite previous calls to address these neglected areas or focus (Mbiba 2001, Mougeot 2000). Mougeot (2000) has proposed conceptual frameworks toward the development of what he refers to as a 'distinctive architecture' for UA. Recent International Development Research Centre (IDRC) projects with African partners, such as the Urban Agriculture Programme at the Municipal Development Programme (MDP) have begun strengthening methodological and theory development through research on political economy (MDP/IDRC). In 2002, a collaborative workshop was held to formulate a joint methodological framework for current U A research being undertaken in the region. Generally though, presentation and debate have 14 been much more centred on methods than on epistemological and methodological frameworks. The Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Forestry (RUAF) hosted an on-line conference in 2002 that generated a wealth of papers and discussion on appropriate methods for U A research (RUAF 2002). There has been considerable advocacy and encouragement in recent years to support participatory and action based research methods (especially within planning and policy areas), which have been much less utilised (Martin et al 2002, RUAF 2002). Martin, Oudwater and Gundel's (2002, 3) review of methods used in situational analysis of UA found "There are fewer examples of use and critical assessment of participatory methods in the urban agricultural context, despite some important advantages they offer". Their review provides some interesting examples of innovative methods applied in U A research. These include applications of rapid visual appraisal, participatory rural appraisal techniques, stakeholder analysis, use of sustainability indicators, geographic information systems, and urban ecological footprint analysis. The authors also identify two useful methodological frameworks; the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework and the Driving Force - State - Activity and Impact model (also known as pressure- activity - status - impact -response, PASIR). There are even fewer methodological resources related to gender in U A research. Hovorka (1998) prepared a methodology to assist researchers to apply gender analysis as an integral analytical tool throughout their U A work. Few researchers have done so to date, however, some interesting examples are offered by Hasna (1998), Premat (2002), Flynn-Dapaah (2002) and Hovorka (2002). As yet, there has been little engagement with feminist or African feminist methodologies evident in major research publications. Flynn-Dappah's (2002) research on land tenure systems in Ghana gave voice to feminist contributions within the field of political ecology, weaving gender relations and dynamics throughout her work. However, this was the only example found that mentioned feminist work. Discussion of methodology in U A work in Zimbabwe has been minimal, however many publications have discussed specific research methods. Most empirical research on UA have been done almost entirely on Harare, the capital and employed methods associated with positivist research. There have been both quantitative and qualitative methods employed in UA research, with much of the data lending itself to more quantitative analysis. In most cases, these methods have been used to help develop useful baseline data on the practice of 15 UA. Aerial photography (Mazambani 1982, Mbiba 1995) has been used to determine the amount of land under cultivation in suburbs of Harare. Bowyer-Bower et al. (1996) utilised Detrended Correspondence Analysis, a method that identifies species presence-absence and abundance measurements of vegetation sequences to determine the ecological impacts of cultivation. Surveys using structured interviews have been most popular (Mbiba 1995, ENDA 1997, 1996, Mudimu 1996, Mudimu, Siziba and Hanyani-Mlambo 1998). ENDA-Zimbabwe (1997, 1996) administered surveys to 450 households in Gweru and 720 households in Harare to undertake cost-benefit analysis of U A in the respective cities. Mudimu et al. (1998) utilised 480 structured survey questionnaires to characterise and quantify agricultural activities on open spaces in Harare. Interviews with city officials and city staff were also done. More interesting methods of data collection have included the multi-method approach used by Mbiba (1995). In the only book on U A in Zimbabwe, Mbiba (ibid.) shares findings that were the first attempts to capture the voices of women cultivators and to illuminate the diversity of women engaged in the practice. He used verbal testimonies and photography to "vividly portray the struggle of women to do something of their own, to survive, to keep going, to keep family and society surviving" "ibid. 115). His research also shares an example of a tacheometric survey (a sketch map) to convey terrain characteristics, plot sizes, informal tenure systems, soil quality, slope and degradation potential (see page 87). Likewise, Martin, Oudwater and Meadows (2000) undertook a livelihood analysis of two case studies on urban farming in Porta Farm and Epworth, both unique research sites, as one lies just outside of the jurisdiction of Harare, and the latter is considered by the government a "temporary holding camp" although some people have resided there for over ten years. Despite these innovative research methods used, research on UA had not incorporated feminist or participatory methodologies in Zimbabwe until this current research was undertaken. It is unfortunate that the research on U A in Zimbabwe has not involved more discussion of methods and methodologies, but this has already been changing due to the continued institutional support the Urban Agriculture Programme at MDP has brought to the study and policy development of UA in Zimbabwe. 16 T O W A R D S A N A L T E R N A T I V E E P I S T E M O L O G Y IN U A R E S E A R C H : BRINGING IN EMOTIONS, FEELINGS AND E V E R Y D A Y L I F E Without imagination, we cannot search for the kind of knowledge that allows us to fully understand our divided realities in order to transcend them. It is the imagination that allows us to move from where we are to where we would like to be even before we get there. We must learn to liberate the imagination, to unleash the energy that so many of us dissipate, often without realising, in upholding the intellectual barriers that divide us not only from one another, but also from ourselves and from other ways of knowing. Pereira (2002) Mbilinyi (1992) contends that most gender research in Southern Africa has been produced within neo-positivist epistemology. An epistemology is a theory of knowledge. It addresses concerns that relate to who can be a knower and importantly, what kinds of knowledge and things can be known. In contrast to the positivist epistemologies dominant within the study of gender and U A in Africa generally, and in Zimbabwe particularly, this research makes an earnest attempt to convey the everyday lives of women, in this case a group of seven older black African women, by grounding the findings in their experiences, voices and activism. The analysis presented in this thesis also brings in the voices of African feminists, (as well as other feminist researchers who have contributed invaluable insights on gender in Zimbabwe) by integrating their academic contributions into UA research in Zimbabwe. Emphasis was placed on the activities of individual women, not the household, following the lead of African feminists who have criticised household analysis12, as well as African feminists who try to provide alternatives to household analysis. This research follows Mama's (1996) reflections on the important role of woman-centred methods that work to reveal women's agency; "It is a paradigm which takes the study of the oppression that all these women experience far beyond studies which leave one angered by the sense of passivity that is inevitably conveyed using more directive methods which impose theoretical frameworks on the subtleties, nuances and innovations that make women into makers of 1 2 African feminists have criticised using households as an appropriate unit of analysis because it is well documented that households are composed of separate economic activities, separate incomes and expenditures, complex gender relations, and exclude women headed households, and further have not produced results that actually benefit individual women (McFadden and Mvududu 2001, Pereira 2002, Matshalaga 1996, Wanzala 1998, Mbilinyi 1992). 1 3 Women and Law Southern Africa (WLSA) have applied a praxis oriented methodology using grounded theory and legal pluralism in a regional research project that re-conceptualised the definition of family by responding to historical, political and cultural processes that have homogenised people and women in relation to law and policy (McFadden and Mvududu 2001). 17 history rather than mere victims of it". Revealing women's agency, voices and practices requires an emphasis on the issues and problems of everyday life. It is 'the everyday'; the lives, experiences, opinions, thoughts and interactions of everyday people that researchers in the social sciences base their research agendas and livelihoods upon. 1 5 As a white western woman, I cannot overlook that my research has been shaped by my western cultural and conceptual experiences of living in Canada, in North America. This study's research methodology helps to reveal where my own digressions from dominant discourses, epistemologies and social science methods are located, and perhaps, where they still exist. Within this research the identities of women as 'urban farmers' or ' urban cultivators' were explored by taking an interest in the everyday lives of the women I worked with, not just their seasonal urban farming. The results of this research seem richer and more informed (although certainly not complete) as it drew out complexities and inter-connections that would have been overlooked if I had not been free to explore these other areas of their lives and experiences. In bringing in the "everyday" and the role of emotions and feelings in the research process, I strove to include and understand the everyday language of ordinary women and men that describe their daily realities. Academics and scientists create new languages to conceptualise, analyse and theorise, and it is often presumed their work represents a rational, higher or ideal form of language and discussion than that used by everyday people (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Freire and Faundez 1989). Language and metaphors have the power to define reality (if they are accepted) and to influence action. Lakoff and Johnson's work (1980) exemplifies the importance and power of everyday language and conceptual system.16 Most of our experiences are grounded in these, whether we are academics or not, and we carry these with us into the diverse social and cultural 1 4 Mama in this citation is specifically referring to gender research by Barnes and Schmidt which have been used extensively within this thesis. 1 5 Dorothy Smith (1987, 91) in Everyday World as Problematic describes her usage of the term 'everyday': "What I have done in using the term, therefore, is to shift it out of its ordinary place within a scientific or philosophical discourse and treat it as a property of an actuality lived and practised... For the everyday world is neither transparent nor obvious... The everyday world, the world where people are located as they live, located bodily and in that organisation of their own world as one that begins from their own location in it, is generated in its varieties by an organisation of social relations that originate 'elsewhere'. It is like a dance in which the subject participates or in which she is placed." 1 6 As Lakoff and Johnson (1980) discuss in great depth in their book Metaphors We Live By, the very language that science and academia use, their concepts and categorisation processes, are founded on myths and metaphors that are used in the common language of everyday people which are specific to our Anglo-American culture. 18 environments we find ourselves in. This epistemology grounded in everyday language and conceptual systems respects the knowledge and understanding of local people and may hold useful insights to effecting change, particularly in resisting authoritarian powers. 1 7 A focus on everyday experience also requires recognition of the centrality of emotions and feelings in research, particularly in data gathering and analysis. Affect clearly influences essentially all other aspects of cognitive functioning, including memory, attention, and decision making (Adolphs and Damasio quoted in Forgas 2001, 50). Nussbaum (2001, 149) professes that "emotions themselves are ethical and social/political parts of an answer to the questions, 'What is worth caring about?' 'How should I live?'" It is in fact, emotions and feelings that ignited my interests in poverty, feminism, social justice, urban planning, food security and inevitably, urban agriculture, and therefore, the choice to abandon them or treat them separately in my field work would be counter-intuitive, perhaps even detrimental to the aims I seek within my work . Throughout the research process, especially when working with the women to create actions with meaningful outcomes, my emotions were instrumental in several ways. For example, my empathy for the challenges and risks these women encounter to sustain their families provoked a greater emphasis on action methods (at their request), rather than methods that may have contributed to more data on land tenure systems, land conflicts and local governance (areas that were of increasing interest to me). In undertaking numerous action methods to secure support for their cultivation practices and individual income 1 7 In Learning to Question, Paulo Freire and Antonio Faundez (1989) discuss at great length various forms of resistance to authoritarian power (they include intellectuals within the academe as upholding structures of authoritarian power). As suggested by Lakoff and Johnson, Freire and Faundez believe that the knowledge of the people is looked down upon when in fact it holds the key to action and effective change. In.contrast, Faundez (ibid.) explains that 'scientific' knowledge becomes scientific when it includes the knowledge of the people, who themselves have assimilated and changed the scientific knowledge of the intellectuals. Freire (ibid.) discusses how the world of academic standards imposes itself on the world and knowledge of the people and therefore, sets these two worlds against one another, when in fact, Freire suggests, these worlds should create a union, complimenting one another: theory and action working together to create change for and with the people. 1 8 Klein (1993) asserts that having openness to emotions and feelings might allow us to encompass the complexity of reality better. Howard Williamson (1996, 39) suggests there needs to be "some careful reconsideration of the ingredients of social research which provide not necessarily conclusions based on scientific rigour but findings borne of commitment and emotional investment in the task at hand. It is perhaps taking the growing acceptance of ethnographic work one stage further- that such investment generates a return in illuminative data of greater validity and depth than one in which emotions are somehow suspended in the interests of'distance', 'objectivity' and 'science'." 19 generating projects, I witnessed the difficulties these women faced in being heard, being recognised as equal stakeholders in U A decision making forums, being acknowledged as authorities on their communities, and contributors to the social cohesion that exists in their neighbourhoods. As an 'outsider' bearing witness to the painful experiences these women faced, I experienced a melange of emotions including, inspiration, motivation, anger, sadness, compassion, frustration and love. It was such emotions that fuelled my continued efforts to advocate on their behalf, to examine their situations as women from a broader social, cultural and political context, and to re-examine my own assumptions and cultural biases. FEMINIST E T H N O G R A P H Y AND PARTICIPATORY A C T I O N R E S E A R C H : A N A L T E R N A T I V E M E T H O D O L O G Y IN U A R E S E A R C H Influenced by an alternative epistemology that recognises the role of emotions, feelings, and everyday language in the research process, this study's research methodology may be best described as feminist ethnography and participatory action research.19 Feminist methodology is central to this research for the following reasons: First, feminist methodology stands at a disjuncture with positivism and has made valuable contributions to illuminating positivisms' limitations, weaknesses, and fallacies (Amede Obiora 2003, Pereira 2002, Mvududu and McFadden 2001, Bakare-Yusuf 2003, 2001 Bowles and Klein 1983; Stanley and Wise 1983, 1990; Keller 1985; Harding 1987; Smith 1987; Reinharz 1992). Second, feminists have produced unique critiques of dominant ideologies that have not only left gender unexamined, but also ignored issues of race, class, age, imperialism, and religion, among others (Okome 2003, McFadden 2002, Desiree Lewis 2003, Amede Obiora 2003, Wanzala 1998, Imam et al. 1997; Collins 1998; hooks 2000, Oyewurni 2003, Mbilinyi 1992, 1 9 As many feminist academics have asserted there is no single feminist methodology, as there are no methods that are exclusively feminist (Mbilinyi 1992, Reinharz 1992, Harding 1987, Stanley 1990, Kirby and McKenna 1989). As Ogundipe (2002) has noted, in Africa there is need to acknowledge the existence of African feminisms. It has been suggested that what makes a research process feminist could vary from researcher to researcher. It is precisely this notion of embracing openness to a plurality of research purposes, methods, epistemologies and analyses that makes me feel at home using a feminist methodology. While acknowledging that there are many viewpoints, perspectives, standpoints, opinions and theories, many feminist scholars do share some similar ideas on what forms a feminist methodology. Some of the convergences that articulate why my methodology is feminist are shared in this section, although feminists are not the only ones to make some of these assertions (Liz Stanley 1990). However, no other discipline has brought them all together like feminist some researchers have. 20 Mohanty 1991; Reinharz 1992; Frankenberg 1993). It can hardly be overlooked that the surge in examining gender within the international development industry arose from the advocacy of feminists within the field. Critiques of feminism (especially 'white' western liberal feminism) by 'women of colour' around the world, challenged the exclusivity of focus on gender, and asserted the importance that class, race, and imperialism (although age, religion, ethnicity, culture, and nationalism are also acknowledged) play in creating oppressive social relations, including relations between women (McFadden 2002, Wanzala 1998, Mbilinyi 1992). Third, feminism advocates research for social justice and encourages engaging with others in action for positive change (Desiree Lewis 2003, Pereira 2002, Ogundipe-Leslie 1994, 2002, Mbilinyi 1992, Kirby and McKenna 1989; Stanley and Wise 1990; Slocum et al. 1995, Guijt and Kaul Shah 1998). Fourth, feminism creates a space for the role and positionality of researchers, their personal experiences, their emotions, and their feelings to be included in research and interrogated through self-reflexivity (Amede Obiora 2003, Wanzala 1998, Reinharz 1983; Harding 1987; Smith 1987; Frankenberg 1993; Collins 1998). Two approaches useful in accommodating these aspects of feminism are ethnomethodology and participatory research. This research combines feminist research with a feminist ethnography or ethnomethodology20 that embraces the everyday and the personal. In this study, I examine in close detail how people provide us, themselves and others, with the accounts that they do. The emphasis is on understanding how people construct and describe reality. In other words it is on understanding how we 'do' everyday life" (Stanley and Wise, 1983a, 139). Ethnomethodology assumes that the researcher and the research participants are both 'members' of everyday society who share similar concepts, ideas, norms, values and common social behaviours. The understanding of data within ethnomethodology embraces 2 0 Ethnomethodology was being developed in the mid fifties; the term was coined by Harold Garfinkle (1974). Ethnomethodology "argues that 'data' should be used as a 'topic', and not a resource. The idea of using data as a topic is one which suggests that we should not use people's accounts as unexplicated data. We should instead explicate them. However, the writing style and language used to describe ethnomethodology seemed to me unnecessarily complex (Leiter 1980) for an approach that was grounding itself within 'the everyday' (see also Stanley and Wise 1983a). I've noted that the work of male academics whose work is situated outside the mainstream, like the ethnomethodologists, like the work of Paulo Freire, retain male centred language, and additionally, seem to apply scientific or specialised language and discourse, which may be in part to be an attempt to retain 'authority' and/or 'validation'. This creates a wonderful opportunity for feminists to apply these methodologies in order that they can be enriched and adapted to other needs and contexts. 21 the ways of understanding, knowing and doing that all members of society share.21 This approach is referred to as the 'documentary method of interpretation' (ibid.). The analogy often used is that the researcher is almost like a detective looking for 'evidence'; 'evidence' in the forms of events, speech, ways of looking, and so forth. Like detectives, researchers will find themselves in new or problematic situations where by they "use events, speech, ways of looking and a whole variety of other evidence, as precisely evidence, and this is interpreted as 'evidence which stands on behalf o f a whole body of knowledge which we deduce from it. We use it as something which points to an underlying pattern, of which the evidence is but a small part" (ibid. 140). An interesting aspect of ethnomethodology as employed in this study, is its way of confronting notions of reality and fact. "What goes on in social life appears to us as factual; and we experience these social facts as constraining- as constraining as any other material facts. In other words, it is the consequential nature of social facts which constitute their 'factness'. We believe they have consequences; we act on the basis of this; and so they do have consequences" (ibid. 141). We could not name oppression or social injustice, and least of all act to address or end it, if indeed we did not share some commonly held ideas of the social facts that determine what oppression is, who experiences it, and how. While I personally may find it difficult to claim "here are the facts", when people tell me about their lives, their struggles, their conditions, I do treat them as "truth", their partial truth, their understanding of their reality. There are many occasions in everyday life when people refer to facts, objectivity, reality, truth and so forth. Based on these partial truths, the shared experiences of working together, and the actions methods utilised, the analysis of the findings in this research try to contextualise or explain why experiences of oppression might exist for the women I worked with. In ethnomethodology, data are generally verbal accounts, however, as my research methods also involved 'action'; these too are included as data. Accounts "are important because they are the means by which members of society create and sustain their sense of social structure... To construct an account is to make an object or event (past or present) 2 1 There is an obvious dilemma in making these assumptions during any research, especially cross cultural research. However, I adopt the spirit of the using such an approach by my attempt to identify and relate to the experiences of the women I worked with, as well as to recognise that our coming together and commitment to one another reflected some shared interests and values. 22 observable and understandable (accountable in Garfinkle's terms) to oneself or to someone else" (Leiter 1980, 162). "Social structure" in ethnomethodology, as suggested by Stanley and Wise's (ibid. 141), "is something which it sees as occurring within, and as constructed out of, everyday life; and not as something which exists only in the form of 'ideologies' which shape our behaviours". Like Leiter (1980), I understand that what people relate and describe about social life and settings to one another, will represent only a synthesised, condensed, or abbreviated version of a much longer and detailed account that took place, and in so doing, everyday people are making their understandings known to others as mini-ethnographies. My use of ethnomethodology seems to resonate with the work of Freire and Horton (1990) who view people as experts in their own lives, and certainly, it resonates with a feminist research approach (Reinharz 1992, Stanley 1990, Stanley and Wise 1983a, Kirby and McKenna 1989, Du Bois 1983, Mies 1983, Smith 1987, Harding 1987, Oakly 1981). As a researcher, I further use the documentary method of interpretation, using local people's experiences and accounts in action research. The purpose of such an approach to analysis according to Reinharz (1983) is threefold: "it should represent growth and understanding in the arena of the problem investigated, the person(s) doing the investigation, and the method utilised" (ibid., 174). Thus, this encouraged me in my research to invest in a diversity of experiences as useful ways of creating understanding and to include data that "are not confined to talk but can/should include meaningful action that persons engage in, the processes and activities that compose people's lives" (ibid., 179). The values and methods used within this research have been further shaped by participatory action research and my previous volunteer experiences in Harare NGOs, and the voluminous literature on participation. Some of the early discussions and evolution of participatory research evolved in Tanzania and Kenya, from which participatory action research (Fals-Borda and Rahmam 1991) and the D E L T A training program emerged (Hope 22 Garfinkle developed this method based on the works of Karl Mannheim and Alfred Shutz (Leiter 1980). Garfinkle proposed that the documentary method (Garfinkle quoted in Leiter, 1980, 167): "consists of treating an actual appearance as 'the document of,' as 'pointing to,' as 'standing on behalf of a presupposed underlying pattern. Not only is the pattern derived from its individual documentary evidences but the individual evidences, in their turn, are interpreted on the bases of'what is known' about the underlying pattern. Each is used to elaborate the other." 23This includes literature on research and action for mobilisation and change (Freire 1970; Freire and Faundez 1989; Freire and Horton 1990; Horton 1990); on participatory action research (Fals-Borda and Rahman 1991; 23 and Timmel 1996). Techniques for consciencisation , mobilisation, and action, as found in some models of participatory research, were instrumental to many of the nationalist liberation movements underway in Africa in the 60s and 70s, including Zimbabwe (Fals-Borda and Rahmam 1991, Fanon 1963). Participatory research methods and tools are quite familiar to, and utilised by many NGOs in Zimbabwe, especially in rural areas (Makumbel996, Debrabandere and Desmet 1998, Fals-Borda and Rahmam 1991), however participatory practices within governance structures have remained mostly ideological and not applied (Makumbe 1996). In theory, qualitative approaches such as participatory research require greater sensitivity to indigenous cultures and history, and therefore should lend themselves to gender sensitive and people centred investigations (Wanzala 1998). In this research, participatory action research as a set of various methods was used in many ways. For example, action methods through my collaborative and advocacy work with my research participants proved very useful as they fulfilled the needs of the women to work toward meaningful outcomes by creating real experiences of working together, producing insightful data that could not be explored in a contrived interview situation or structured surveys or questionnaires. As a researcher, my role was to make connections and to situate these "facts" and partial "truths' into a broader context. These short and sometimes fragmented interview quotations from the women are shared in the thesis and I work between these interview transcripts-as-documents, and the patterns that have already been documented in previous research and writings, as well as other data uncovered in my field work. This process is often referred to as triangulation. In trying to apply the above methodology and methods in this research, I attempted to embrace a spirit of putting the theory and tenets of participation into practice. What was most important in terms of creating space for participation is cited often in research on participatory development. I strove to: a) Develop shared ownership of the research; b) Enable other participants to direct the research process and to have a say on what to do, and how; c) Create opportunities for collective data gathering and analysis; d) Create space for participants to reflect on the research and provide critical Brinton Lykes 1997; Chambers 1997; Chataway 1997; Nieuwenhuys 1997); and on participatory development generally (Nelson and Wright 1995; Guijt and Kaul Shah 1998). 2 4 Consciencisation is a term used by Freire (1970,17) and "refers to learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality". 24 feedback; e) Build trust; and f) Allow research to progress into action methods. Such attempts are made in participatory research so that the hierarchical relationships associated with research —- between the researcher and those who participate in research — can be broken down. My experimentation with a range of participatory methods helps to demonstrate the strengths, challenges and applications of applying multiple research methods in the field. (See Appendix 2 which outlines the weakness of the research). M E T H O D S This research represents a multi-method approach, and it experimented with a variety of qualitative research methods throughout the fieldwork in Harare. With women farmers, methods were adapted to the needs the women were expressing, in my attempt to produce a "thoughtful method," described by Rutenberg (1983, p. 75) as one that "is the combination of intellect and emotion and is concerned with practical and personal as well as academic application." While most of the methods were used with the women in their neighbourhood in Highfield, some methods took the women outside their neighbourhood and into different social environments and networks. During the course of data collection, I received assistance from five researcher assistants. From September until December 2000 Tendayi Mutimukuru and Shephard Siziba (both academics working in the department of Agricultural Economics and Extension at the J University of Zimbabwe) provided support and assistance to this research in several ways. Together we discussed a strategy for locating urban farmers to participate in the research and jointly organised research trips to survey open spaces within Harare. During one of our initial outings, we were invited by Mrs. Mukumbi to her home to meet with other women who farm. I arranged organisational meetings with Tendayi and Shephard to jointly discuss our objectives for meetings and interviews with the women and to define what roles each of us would play. During focus groups, either Tendayi or Shephard would facilitate discussion on issues we pre-determined, and the other person would translate the discussions for me as I did the note-taking. At individual interviews with the women, Tendayi or Shepherd would directly translate conversations between myself and the woman being interviewed. We also 25 took time to reflect and debrief after each meeting and interview. When Shephard and Tendayi were unavailable due to their busy schedules, Regina Nyagwande became a third assistant. During June to September 2001, Regina and Tafadzwa Mupfawa replaced Shephard and Tendayi as they had taken on full time employment by this time. However, Regina and Tafadzwa were also busy with their own work and I took on the full role of deciding the research methods and questions, while still creating space for organisational meetings and de-briefing. Sibongile Kufa was recruited during the last month of research to replace Regina who began working full time. (Please refer to Appendix One to read their individual bios.) Each of them played a significant role in helping to build rapport and relationships with the women, sharing insights on their own differing understandings of Shona culture, as well as providing helpful For example, in October 2000 Shepherd was reflecting that we really did not know that much about the women and this led me to propose that we meet with each of the women to learn their life histories. (See below). Participatory Research Tools The participatory tools used in the research were drawn from Power, Process and Participation: Tools for Change (Slocum et al. 1995). The first participatory tool applied with the small group of women is a popular tool often used at the beginning of a process. It is known as landscape mapping, which is similar to transect walks (Slocum et al. 1995). This exercise was done by having a small group of women take us on a walk through an area where each of the women had one field. In this exercise, we asked the women to tell us about the land they were farming, what they cultivated, what some of the challenges were, and so forth. We then followed up with an exercise to map out this area a week later with the same group of women. The second tool used in this study was a modified version of a life-history interview, conducted with each of the seven women separately in their homes. These interviews revealed a great deal about the backgrounds of the women, which helped us get to know each of them on a more individual level. We learned about their migration from rural areas to the city, their educational backgrounds, when they started cultivating in the city, their employment experiences, and much more. I used flip-chart paper so the women could see what I was writing and could follow along with me (see chart below). 26 Date Location Household composition Activities Major events Birth 2000 The last participatory tool used was a technique referred to as household-activity ranking. This was a short exercise in which each of the women named the contributions each person living in her household made and ranked these contributions in importance, according to her own criteria. We asked her to explain her criteria to us. A chart (see below) was used for filling in the information. This tool was used in the same interview as the two tools discussed above. Who Activity Contribution Ranking Focus Groups & Strategic Meetings We held three focus-group discussions with the women, gathering in the living room of one of the homes (the women took turns hosting group gatherings). Generally, all 7 women would attend, although on occasion some came late or were away. Each meeting lasted 1.5-2 hours. Topics explored at the focus groups were the following: 1. Women's perceptions/thoughts of the unaccommodative stance of the City towards open space cultivation. 2. Women and men's access to urban and rural land. 3. Involvement in public participation processes. The women often did not seem as comfortable when discussing in larger groups as when speaking with us individually in their own homes, where they seemed to volunteer more personal information and express their opinions more freely. The focus groups gave us opportunities to observe group dynamics and hear the kinds of stories and information the women wished to exchange with one another and these exchanges played an important role in forming and maintaining a group identity. 27 Other strategic meetings were held with the women. These ranged from holding meetings to prepare for a workshop, de-briefing meetings after meetings, workshops and a field trip, and organisational meetings. Post-harvest Interviews From October 2000 to April 2001, detailed in-depth interviews were held with each woman individually. The interviews concerned each woman's most recent farming activities and lasted 1.5-2 hours. Information was gathered on the time and resources used for each major activity (planting, weeding, harvesting, etc.); the estimated amounts harvested, stolen, and shared; the ways they obtained their fields; and other interesting details that emerged in the process of the interviews. Visioning Interviews To facilitate the process of determining what projects the women wanted to undertake and how, individual semi-structured interviews were held with each of the women in her own home (discussing project ideas as a group seemed to create some tension). When interviewing them individually, I inquired about what they envisioned for themselves and their families in the years to come, how they imagined working with the other women in the group, what their own project ideas were, and what resources they required or possessed to undertake these activities. Interviews & Meetings with U A Stakeholders Significant effort was put into finding out the interests, opinions, and involvement in U A of local and central government, academics, and NGOs. I carried out interviews and held discussions and meetings with 37 stakeholders who in some way or another had an interest in U A in Zimbabwe. Further, upon the establishment of the U A Stakeholder Forum further meetings and information was shared on U A practices and initiatives. Review of the Literature and Secondary Sources Time was dedicated to tracking down documents, research papers, reports, and other such publications at libraries, City Hall archives, NGO libraries and bookstores. Literature was reviewed on urban agriculture, gender and development in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, African feminism, planning in Zimbabwe, women and urban history, and relevant legislation. Many documents are spread out around the city and are not always available for sale, which can make acquiring the information difficult when photocopy services are poor or 28 unavailable. Further, some libraries are difficult to access in the University, which impeded my ability to obtain more literature on planning in Zimbabwe. However, I did come home with an abundance of literature I needed. Additionally, I undertook a review of UA literature produced by donor agencies such as the IDRC and RUAF, which has included over 140 articles. The review examined how gender, class, race, age, colonialism, feminism and culture are being mentioned, discussed and analysed within major publications in the U A field. I have not included an extensive review in my thesis as it requires considerable more time and work to distil and synthesise them, however I have reviewed the literature relevant to the discussion in each of my chapters. Internship An internship placement with the Municipal Development Program for Eastern and Southern Africa (MDP-ESA) within its Urban Agriculture Program was developed by MDP and myself for the period May-August 2001. I actively engaged in the day-to-day implementation of the U A program by writing reports, editing materials for dissemination, strengthening the participation of stakeholders in meetings and discussions on UA, developing proposals, and becoming involved in other related activities of MDP-ESA. The internship created an opportunity to gain an insider's perspective on the policy side of UA, as I was brought into closer contact with information that may have otherwise been difficult to obtain, and with individuals who either were policymakers, or had connections with policymakers. Action Strategies A significant emphasis was placed on utilising action methods to encourage support of older women who cultivate who have no advocates and few opportunities to ensure their needs and visions are heard and reflected in decision making on UA. Action strategies took on numerous forms and increasing importance as a result of the elevating stresses affecting the women. Action was undertaken in collaboration with the women, sometimes at their request and sometimes because I had found a possible contact or opportunity for them. The burden of the increasing costs of food and household expenditures (such as water and electricity bills) was greater on some women's households than others, but all were eager and talked about what actions they could take as a group. Significant time and energy went into identifying ways to address the issues the women were raising. Objectives of the action 29 strategies were to (1) work directly with local organisations; (2) provide education and training; (3) allow participation in meetings where NGOs and decision-makers were present; (4) network and share information with others (including other urban farmers); and (5) establish the women's own projects. In summary, Table 2.0 provides a breakdown of all of the primary data sources I used to inform the findings and analysis of this study. Table 2.1 Summary of Primary Data Sources Type of Data Source Total Number of Interviews/ Total Number of People Interviewed Individual Interviews with Women who 22/7 Cultivate Focus Groups with Women Who Cultivate 3/7 Other Strategic Group Meetings & Data 8/7 Collection Exercises with Women who Cultivate Field Trips with Women Who Cultivate 1/7 Interviews With NGO Stakeholders 15/ 14 Interviews With Local Government Staff 12/ 13 Interviews With Central Government 6/6 Stakeholders Interviews With Academics 4/4 Interviews With Planners, or persons with a 11 Planning Background (already accounted Men: 8, Women: 3 for in above interviews) Stakeholder Forums 4/ 24 Lectures 2 Conferences & Workshops 8 CLOSING It might be asked why this methodology is appropriate to a planning thesis. This methodology combines an investigation of a complex 'land use' issue in Harare with an approach that would bring to light the social relationships, the historical and cultural context, and the gendered construction of urban open space cultivation, as well as the governance issues that constrain the inclusion of everyday people and women into the planning process for their communities. This was achieved by a research approach that fosters trust and relationship building with women practitioners of open space cultivation, by allowing a 30 diversity of groups of individuals to work together and placing action research methods on a equal footing as other standard research methods like interviewing and focus groups. This combination of approaches contributed to revealing meaningful insights that can help mediate the distance or disconnect between what happens on the ground for everyday people and women, and the planning milieu at the policy, decision making and implementation levels. Balancing knowledge and experiences from the past with current data and analysis can help planners formulate appropriate changes and actions, that are recognised by and meaningful to women who engaged in open space cultivation. This methodology helps to provide specific contextual information by focusing on a particular group of women practitioners, who represent some of the initial urban open space cultivators in Harare. Further, urban women farmers have been given very little attention in research in Harare, and city planners have ill considered the gender implications of their work, especially, the impacts on women. As Diallo asserted in his 1993 paper on U A in southern and eastern Africa, "Generally, most research attempts to establish correlations (by intuition in some cases) between several aspects in the history of the country's economic development, urbanisation trends and the appearance of UA. In fact, this type of reasoning is applicable to all the survival strategies noted during the postcolonial period in developing countries, particularly in Africa: rural exodus, the appearance of shanty towns, extensive growth of the informal sector in different areas of activity, etc. This removes any specificity in the analysis of UA" (Diallo 1993). Using in-depth participatory and action research methods has helped uncover some interesting details that help create the specificity Diallo was looking for, especially as they pertain to women, gender and urban planning for UA. It remains a fruitful endeavour to compassionately experiment with methods and methodologies that bring planners in more direct contact and interaction with those for whom they have the obligation and duty to plan. While quantitative information on U A is important to aiding decision making on land use planning issues such as open space cultivation, qualitative data provides context, as well as reveals the social relationships that exist between humans and their natural and built environment. Without such a balance, the foundation to inform decision making remains incomplete, biased toward dominant models of planning and research that have excluded the local knowledge and realities of everyday people, especially women. 31 CHAPTER III Making Women Visible: A History of Women and Open Space Cultivation in Harare, Zimbabwe INTRODUCTION This chapter makes a unique contribution to the study of urban agriculture, specifically open space cultivation in Harare, in several ways. First, it specifically locates women within the historical urbanisation process that has taken place in Harare, which is often ignored. Second, the above information provides a contextual backdrop to situate women's practice of open space cultivation by making linkages with the political, social, cultural and economic environment pre and post independence. It bridges such broader influences with the specific details provided in the biographies of seven low income, black African, ageing women who have strong rural ties, and who also cultivate open urban spaces near their homes. The data and secondary sources contained here demonstrate women's agency in (re)creating urban history, and how their agricultural knowledge and identities as women allow them to shape the physical and cultural constructions of where they lived, and to develop opportunities during difficult circumstances. The chapter creates a historical foundation from which to better understand the gendered constructions of urban farming in Harare, and the wider context from which the systematic marginalisation of women in society can be further explored. C O L O N I A L I S M , P O S T - C O L O N I A L I S M AND G E N D E R RELATIONS: W O M E N & URBANISATION Complex gender, race and class relations woven into economic, political, socio-cultural and legal practices have persisted throughout Zimbabwean history to subordinate the status of women to that of men in society. The authoritarian character of the state in both pre and post independence periods has created significant barriers to the realisation of equitable and democratic relations and practices between genders, races, classes, and ethnic groups. In this context, the full flowering of civil society is constrained, particularly seen in the state's 32 curtailment of organised individuals and groups of women, to struggle and create spaces for people to assert their rights to resources and maintain roles and identities that are life-affirming and empowering. Barnes (1999) and Schmidt (1992) have done extensive historical research to document the lives of women in the context of Zimbabwean culture and political economy. Examining life in Harare, Barnes notes that, "the most important interpersonal gender dynamic of the colonial era was the hostility of the African male—and the overall community— toward women who responded (or tried to respond) independently to the new political economy" (Barnes 1999, 97). This political economy was characterised by imperialist domination via white settler colonialism, or what Mandaza (1986) refers to as modern monopoly imperialism. This is the third stage of capitalist imperialism in Southern Africa from which labour, land and mineral acquisitions by the British South Africa Company were appropriated in 1890 through the granting of a Royal Charter by the British government. The Charter sanctioned company rule over the African population and such companies like the BSAC writes Ieuan Griffiths (1995), "represented privatised colonialism and ensured almost unfettered penetration of Africa by Western capital". In June 1890, Fort Salisbury was founded, (after dislodging the local African population), serving as both the local headquarters of the BSAC, and later the official capital of Southern Rhodesia . White settlers and the colonial government anticipated that African men would leave their homesteads and provide their labour in the mines, farms and cities, leaving women in what the whites believed was their rightful place, the rural home. But it is now well documented that women were also present in these areas too. In cities, women took up a wide range of occupations and roles, ranging from factory workers, beer brewers, nurses, wives and companions of resident men, sex workers, domestic workers, nannies, and teachers (Barnes 1996, Vambe 1976, Schmidt 1992). Women living in relatively close proximity to the city came into the towns to sell eggs, peas, beans, fruits, tomatoes and other produce they grew at their homes, to sell door to door in the white residential neighbourhoods. From these modest marketing endeavours, some Africans were able to pay their taxes and keep men from having to leave their homes for employment. In fact, the government had to rely on For more detailed accounts refer to Rakodi 1995, Barnes 1996, Davison 1997, Chikowore 1995, Grifiths 1995). 33 'imported' labour, meaning, Africans who were from outside Zimbabwe, while also imposing even steeper taxes to force the local populations into waged labour (Schmidt 1992). The response to these 'new' occupations of women and their defiance of African male authority was dubious. While men living and working in urban locations and mining towns received great benefit from the services provided by migrating women, Chiefs and older African men were not pleased with the flight of African women, or the defiance of male authority that it represented (Barnes 1992, 1991; Schmidt 1990, 1992). In addition, African Chiefs and elders were further disgruntled with the situation, as they could not compete with the younger male wage earners in terms of providing marriage payments (known as lobolo in Shona). The colonial state, realising the necessity for appeasing both groups of men, responded by establishing, at times, contradictory legislation. As Schmidt (1990, 627) contends, Having based their system of colonial administration on the manipulation of indigenous authority structures, using local leaders to implement state policies, colonial officials could not afford to let those structures be undermined by agents outside their control. Thus, the administration was fundamentally concerned with safeguarding the domestic authority of African male guardians. The refusal of women to marry their appointed partners, their desertion of unwanted husbands, and their flight to missions, mines, farms, and urban areas posed a serious threat to African male authority, and consequently, to the entire system of indirect rule. In particular, the 1916 Native Adultery Punishment Ordinance was applied in response to African chiefs' request to restrict female mobility. This legislation made adultery between African men and married African women a criminal offence (ibid.) The law had the effect of serving the interests of the chiefs, as well as serving the interests of the colony. Officials had determined that African men were being deterred from taking employment in the city as they feared women may cheat on them in their absence (Barnes 1992). The above indicates that colonial officials recognised the importance of African women's reproductive and productive labour to the colonial economy, and therefore, women's mobility continued to warrant close scrutiny (Schmidt 1990). By the 1940s and 1950s, planning and administrative measures were getting even more repressive and the conflict between African men, women and the state regarding mobility was still as prevalent (Barnes 1992). Police raids of homes were common26, wages 2 6 Refer to Barnes (1992 and 1995) for more indepth look at the raids that took place in Harare. 34 were extremely low, bachelors were experiencing malnourishment and deficiency diseases (Report on Urban Conditions in Southern Rhodesia 1945) and the provision of housing for the growing African population was insufficient. To contend with a growing urban African population, the Native (Urban Areas) Accommodation and Registration Act was drafted to "facilitate urban segregation by the provision of adequate housing for all urban Africans, by compelling employers to provide free accommodation for their employees, and by stricter control of Africans living in towns or trying to enter them" (ibid. 180). Colonial laws were enacted to restrict the movements of men and women into, and within urban areas, often subjecting women to incidents of harassment and sexual abuse (Barnes 1999). Young, single women were considered suspicious urban migrants, and were specifically targeted by 'anti-immorality' policies that attempted to monitor their entry into urban areas and the livelihoods they took up. Enforcement of such policies consisted of surveillance, interrogation, and even night raids (Barnes 1992, Jeater 1993). Barnes (ibid. 108) declares "it was the implementation of restrictions on African women after the passage of the 1946 Natives (Urban Areas) Registration and Accommodation Act which aroused perhaps the most sustained anti-colonial campaign in Harare before the onset of the full-blown nationalist struggle." Urban women played instrumental roles in bringing about progressive changes to migrant labour policies that would finally allow families to exercise their rights to live 27 together in urban areas. Repressive administrative and legal mechanisms were employed to disenfranchise Africans from their land, livelihoods, and wealth, forcing the African population to participate in a market economy that necessitated the need for monetary incomes (Schmidt 1990, Sibanda 1989). Incomes were needed to pay hut taxes, (Africans were levied taxes to reside on the land the white settlers had just taken from them). They needed money for cow dipping, for school fees to attend mission schools, and even to pay taxes on each dog they owned28. Furthermore, the influx of white immigration from Europe after WWII forced even 2 7 RICU (Reformed Industrial and Commercial Worker's Union) was an organisation noted for its considerable membership of women, that rallied "on behalf of the marital rights of township men and for township residence rights of women. This campaign was unprecedented in its public challenge to the separation of African families under the migrant labour system and its explicit championing of the rights of urban women" (Barnes 1999, 106). 2 8 Vambe (1972) provides one of those stories that are both funny and sad, recalling the failed attempts of his grandmother to hide their dogs from the white official who came to collect the taxes, resulting in a very terrible outcome for his family. 35 more displacement of Africans from their land. Making way for new immigrant white farmers from Europe placed greater hardships on the rural population, forcing them onto less desirable lands and into more confined areas. These efforts were institutionalised in the 1951 Native Land Husbandry Act (Phimister, 199-).29 This finally pushed more African men and women to move to the cities. Land alienation was already being experienced by African women whose rural access to land was patrilineal and therefore hinged on the marriage of indigenous African men with land in rural areas, as well as their access to resources to produce from that land. In urban areas, women were not allowed under the law to be given homeownership; this right was restricted to African men (ibid.). After Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, women in urban areas were still left vulnerable to gender specific policies and cultural practices that negatively targeted and characterised women, and further contributed to alienating their rights to land and other entitlements through discriminatory constitutional arrangements that situate black women unequally under customary laws enshrined in the Constitution. As Ruth Meena (1992, 9) explains, Culture has been used by African male scholars and particularly those who have taken a nationalistic perspective as an excuse to conceal existing oppressive gender relations and legitimise the perpetuation of these oppressive relations. While nationalist movements had mobilised both women and men in the struggle for independence, power was essentially transferred to few men who inherited the colonial administrative apparatus... power was transferred to a few men whose immediate preoccupation was to reinvent the African 'masculinity'. At independence the governing class asserted its power through exclusive state control.31 Authoritarian tendencies emerged early on within national leadership exhibiting a predisposition to suppressing opposing views, curtailing debates and subordinating struggles of trade unions and women under a nationalist hegemony (Raftopoulos 1995). The new nationalist government quickly began to systematically erode women's political engagement with the new state through various measures (Essof 2003). A prominent example was the 2 9 As white administrators and farmers witnessed the successes of women's agricultural production, new laws and regulations were instituted to accord white farmers benefits, and to curb the competition from black farmers (Amanor-Wilks 1996). 3 0 It is important to note that women took up urban residency from the early 1900s. Some UA research in Zimbabwe seems to not acknowledge this. 3 1 The reconciliatory agreement known as the Lancaster House Agreement conferred constitutional safeguards that maintained the maintenance of white settler economic power, a part of the neo-colonial plan for Zimbabwe by the British and the US (Mandaza 1986). Zimbabwe became a model within the region and foreign investment came mostly from Western capitalist nations, not socialist states (Chimombe 1986). 36 country wide government initiative known as Operation Clean Up in 1983 that authorised the arbitrary arrest of urban women walking alone and who were not in possession of marriage certificates. A marriage certificate would verify a woman's 'innocence'; that she was not a prostitute (Gaidzanwa 1995). Gaidzwana's analysis suggests "the arrests ... were an attempt to reassert the social dominance of men, as well as the elders who were smarting from the perceived threats to their dominance over women within and outside households" (ibid., 115). Examples continue to emerge from research that lends further support to the institutional, cultural and political mechanisms employed to impede women's ways of organising and affecting change in their lives. Such circumstances create a complex social, cultural and political environment for women to manoeuvre and meet her economic needs and those of her family. Feminist historical analysis has clearly shown that the current marginalisation and subordination of black Zimbabwean women is rooted in the patriarchal nature of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial gender relations. Bakare-Yusuf s (2003) conceptualisation of patriarchy helps explain the usage of the term patriarchy: Rather than viewing patriarchy as a fixed and monolithic system, it would be more helpful to show how patriarchy is constantly contested and reconstituted. As Christine Battersby (1998) suggests, patriarchy should be viewed as a dissipative system, with no central organising principle or dominant logic. Viewing patriarchy in this way allows us to appreciate how institutional power structures restrict and limit women's capacity for action and agency without wholly constraining or determining this capacity. By conceptualising patriarchy as a changing and unstable system of power, we can move towards an account of African gendered experience that does not assume fixed positions in inevitable hierarchies, but stresses transformation and productive forms of contestation. What is incredible is that despite oppressive forces and obstacles, women have continued to retain roles of influence within and outside the home, as this thesis will reveal. While it is incredible to see such resiliency and agency exhibited by women under harsh conditions, there can be no misunderstanding that women are in need of support to overcome the severe hardships they are experiencing right now in Zimbabwe. Increasing government sponsored or supported militarism, predatory politics, ethnic conflict, male patronage and mistrust of civil society have all escalated in recent years under President Mugabe's regime. 3 2 Refer to McFadden and Mvududu (2001), McFadden (1992), Meena (1992), Gaidzanwa (1985), Hodgson and McCurdy (2001), ZWRCN (1995), Abraham (1999), Barnes (1999), Ncube (1995) and Zhou (1995), for works that discuss the portrayal of women in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Southern Africa. 37 Episodes of severe economic crises and hardships have arisen from the structural adjustment programs (SAP's) imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (Drakakis-Smith, Bowyer-Bower and Tevera 1995, Mudimu 1996). This sad domestic political situation, combined with various forms of foreign interventions in the name of neo-liberal restructuring, have created severe consequences for women, such as increased care-giving responsibilities, increased resource and land alienation, sexual and physical violence and loss of freedom of association, among other social injustices. In the early 1990s, drought and a voluntary, as well as imposed IMF program of economic structural adjustments, caused increasing levels of poverty. The deregulation of the domestic economy, reduction of the public deficit and the relaxation of restrictions on trade represented a shift in the Zimbabwean economy toward non-interventionism, privatisation and deregulation in an effort to help jump start economic growth that had been stagnant during the 1980s (Marquette 1997). The failure of such policies are well documented in studies and analysis that have demonstrated the negative impacts particularly on women and children (Moyo 1999, Marquette 1997, Mudimu 1996, Potts and Mutambirwa 1998, Drakakis-Smith et al. 1995, Matshalaga 1995, Kanji and Jazdowska 1993). HIGHFIELDS, A HIGH DENSITY SUBURB AMIDST OPEN SPACES The above national and political situation shaped by historical forces and contemporary trends have affected community life in the Harare suburb of Highfield, my field research site. From outside Cleveland House where the city planning offices are located in downtown Harare, it is just a short walk down bustling streets toward Mbuya Nehanda Street where the buses to Highfield are located. The buses travel along the canopies of tree-lined streets out of the denser urban fabric, past the Kopje and the winding roundabouts, moving south-westerly toward the industrial areas of Workington and Southerton amidst expanses of open spaces. Once the beginning of residential housing is in sight again, there 3 3 Mbuya Nehanda is a prominent female historical figure who is referred to as both a living human in the form of a spirit medium (as she was in the rebellion of 1896. A spirit medium is a person, man or woman, who can communicate with the spirits), as well as an ancestral spirit. She was a respected Shona leader of the 1896 rebellion (or chimurenga in Shona), an uprising undertaken as a last resort to demonstrate their non-compliance with European occupation. She was executed by the colonial government in that same year after the Shona were defeated. Mbuya, means grandmother in Shona. It is a term of respect and, according to Vambe, affection. (See Vambe 1972, Vera 1993, Scmidt 1996). 38 will be turnoffs to Highfield, or further along, to other high-density suburbs such as Glen View and Budiriro. From a window view, you can see neatly arranged housing, the local churches and schools. These residential areas are labelled 'high density' suburbs, but it does not give off the feeling of density like one might imagine. Mostly, there are individual stands, with a one-story home on it, which in many cases is the product of years of building onto the original one room accommodation many owners were provided. Often, other smaller buildings are on site that accommodates lodgers or home businesses, so these are not generally single family dwellings. Yet there are no high-rises or three story walk ups either- that many often think of when they hear 'high density'. It is not so much the buildings that create the density, it is the number of people living per dwelling. The lots are smallish, ranging in sizes, from lOmeters wide by 20 metres long (although this is an estimate), so homes are close together. Many of the streets are not paved, just the ones that carry the regular automobile traffic. People put up fences, shrubbery and in some cases even brick or cement walls to provide security and privacy. And there are very few cars about, so you hear people's noises. And people walk to places, visiting, going to church and school, even to work if they can not afford the cost of transportation. Because there are so few commercial centres, the shops come to them. Tuckshops have been created in these areas. Tuckshops are informal small businesses that people create by building structures their supplies and resources can best afford to house their independent operation, maybe a barber shop, a convenience store where you can buy bread, butter and other staples, or even a phone shop where residents can come to make local and long distance calls. There is often an outdoor market, usually located at the destination of the local combis (the name given to the minivans used for public transit). Also, it is common to see signs on people's property advertising the sale of beverages, freezies, maputi (popcorn), or eggs. And there are plenty of churches (not all with buildings associated with them), of many different, but mostly different Christian denominations. Most Zimbabweans have some religious affiliation, which included all the women I worked with, some of whom held small church group meetings at their homes. The quiet, peaceful neighbourhoods I caught such a small glimpse of did not necessarily coincide with the realities of daily life living in Highfield, past or present. 39 Highfield is one of the oldest suburbs in Harare (excluding Mbare). It was established by the government in 1932 on state owned farmland called Highfield Farms (Zinyama 1993). An 'elite' group of Africans had been lobbying government for better housing conditions, housing suitable for African families, and separated from the over population and poor sanitary conditions found in Harari township (Vambe 1976, West 2002). Cottages were built, some two to three roomed, with kitchen and washing stands, to house Africans employed by the government, their wives and children. In the early 50s, Highfield was expanded, and houses were leased to other classes of Africans, but generally those who could afford paying higher rents. Some of those whose salaries and social status facilitated their move to New Highfield, as it was called, were Lawrence Vambe, a well known writer, journalist and advocate for racial equality, and the famous boxer and social figure, Augustine Mukarakate. Another interesting affiliation with Highfield is that it was the home of the first Rhodesian African woman to attain a bachelors of Arts degree, a daughter of a local headmaster (Vambe 1976). Highfield, as the poem in Appendix 3 captures well, was also home to political resistance movements that were gaining more popularity among people, and increasingly causing greater clashes with the Rhodesian government in the '50s, '60s and '70s. The headquarters for the African National Congress (ANC) 3 4 was located in Highfield too, where public rallies, speeches and political meetings were assembled. This incited the Rhodesian government to label Highfield a "political trouble spot of the worst possible order" (West 2002) and provoked more severe legislation to be enacted in their desperate attempts to destroy the swells of African nationalism. A Women's League of the ANC was formed in Highfield, adding to other urban women's organisations taking form during this period, such as the Radio Homecraft Club and Helping Hand, which were not overtly political, as well as labour and union based organisations such as the Harari Employed African Women's League, and the Women's League of railway workers. And it was in Highfield, as early as the 1930s that some women began utilising the open areas as sites for agricultural production. They put those open spaces that kept Highfield NINE kilometres from The African National Congress throughout the 1950's mobilised well educated and passionate African male elites, into a political organisation that directly challenged the ideological basis of the Rhodesian government which continued to deny Africans very basic freedoms. The A N C mutated into the National Democratic Party when it was banned by the Rhodesian government in 1959. See Vambe (1976) and West (2002). 40 Salisbury's envisioned white-only European downtown into the productive domain of African women, nourishing the social reproduction of African sons, daughters, husbands and relatives into Independence in 1980. And there were abundant open spaces. In between downtown and Highfield were expanses of open spaces and bits of industrial development. The City itself is situated at an altitude of 1550 m. The topography of the city is hilly in rocky areas, flatter in the south (where Highfield is located), and undulating in the north (Rakodi 1995). Furthermore, the city lies on a watershed plateau between two major rivers, the Limpopo and the Zambezi. Some of the country's best agricultural soils are found in Harare (ibid.). Not only did the physical layout of the city lend itself to agricultural production, the climate and topography made it very suitable. It was on one of these open spaces in Highfield that in early September 2000 we met Mrs. Mukumbi. She was harvesting sweet potatoes from one of her fields, and told us she had been farming in Harare since 1966! WOMEN AND THE HISTORY OF OPEN SPACE CULTIVATION How did farming in the city of Harare arise? And how, when and why did women become involved? These would seem questions that the abundant literature on urban agriculture would have uncovered by now, but in fact, the origins of U A remain somewhat ambiguous and unexplored. Even the insightful and detailed accounts of women's lives in Harare, written by Barnes (1999), make only a brief reference to urban farming. Publications on women and urban life by Barnes (1992, 1995, 1999), Barnes and Win (1992), Sylvester (2000), Gaidzanwa (1985), Horn (1994), (Sithole-Fundire et al. 1995) and Kitson (1994) demonstrate that there is a great deal of history to be uncovered by revealing the lives of women in cities. Even Mbiba's (1995) wonderful book dedicated entirely to UA, and largely focused on women's participation, does not reveal its history. Additionally, the comprehensive research undertaken by ENDA (1997) excluded historical information on the practice.35 • Mbiba's book (1995) provides one of the most detailed descriptions of urban farming (in Zimbabwe) and was the result of a dedicated exploratory effort to learn about the practice generally and to document the experiences of women. Although Mbiba and ENDA's efforts certainly have contributed to raising UA, as a "relevant 41 The starting point for most who have gained interest in UA, has been to document the increased level of fanning witnessed in Harare with the implementation of economic structural adjustment policies (ESAP) and the severe economic conditions that have beset Zimbabwe since the 1990s (Matshalaga 1996, Mudimu 1996, Drakakis-Smith et al. 1995, Drakakis-Smith 1994). One can hardly overlook or discount such correlations. However, there are aspects of urban farming that remain overlooked if one begins exploring U A as a recent phenomenon. In particular, it overlooks the vibrant history of an urban land tenure system that has survived over 50 years, and might possibly represent one of the longest standing African land "ownership" patterns in the city, besides housing. However, this proposition needs to be more sufficiently verified. Additionally, accounts demonstrate that the practice has been dominated by women for most of its history as a land use, and furthermore, does not represent a form of land entitlement where access was through colonial authorities, such as housing in which titles were given almost exclusively to men, or by African men, as in rural areas. According to Mudimu (2001), urban cultivation has existed as long as blacks have resided in urban settlements. My readings have only uncovered several references to the cultivation of open spaces prior to the 1950s. And interestingly, the sources that refer to women are those written by women who research women in history, not urban agriculture (Barnes 1999, Jeater 1993, Horn 1994, Barnes and Win 1992). Researchers on urban agriculture have not uncovered such references, yet they obviously contribute a great deal in helping to contextualise open space cultivation within the U A field. Table 3.0 below summarises these references. research and policy topic" (Mbiba 1995, xvi), policy and research are being undertaken without grounding it in a sufficient historical context. This seems rather unfortunate. 42 Table 3.1 Documentation of U A Prior to 1980s Year Documented Who Was Involved Source Turn of the Century Not specific but mentions "foreigners" Mudimu, 2000, page 74 1916-1920 Women encouraged by the Colonial state to have garden plots- these failed. Jeater, 1993 pages 169-1970 Before 1930's Some vegetables were grown by African workers in 'market garden' plots on the commonage rented indirectly from the town council. It was council policy only to rent such plots to Indians, not Africans. Barnes, 1999, pages 6 & 17 After 1930's At first, to provision their families, women began cultivating rice and maize on the open plain between Harari and Highfield, and vegetables along the Mukuvisi River. Horn 1994, page 23, referencing Barnes and Win 1950's General references Gumbo 2000, Bowyer-Bower et. al, 1996, Mudimu 1996 Pre Independence During colonial era, influx of unemployed war refugees into towns may have increased vending and cultivation. ENDA 1997, page 9 Pre 1980's By migrant workers (men) Urban African had to grow crops around the workplace and the temporary urban home. Most of this was to supplement domestic food requirements while in the urban area. Chimonyo 2000 page 9 Mbiba 1994, 194 While Mudimu (2001) suggests that cultivation was likely undertaken by 'foreigners' (a term usually applied to refer to male migrant labourers), Jeater and Barnes' accounts attest to the practice of women's food production on open spaces before the 1930's. In her accounts of urbanisation in Gwelo District from 1916- 1920, Jeater (1993,169) states that 'garden plots' were recommended for women to work on, as 'this would give the wives of men who are away at work all day some legitimate means of occupying their spare time, instead of spending it in a less wholesome manner'.36It was felt that an increased number of African women residents in town would stabilise the men in the locations and encourage settled urban marriages. The garden plots, as Jeater suggests, proved to be an unsuccessful method of the IT British South Africa Company (BSAC) to stabilise the workforce. Barnes (1999) lends further evidence of the existence of 'market gardens' in Harare prior to the 1930s, however, Native Affairs Committee Report excerpt in Jeater (1993, 169). 43 it is not mentioned whether these were tended by men or women. Unlike the efforts made in Gwelo, these plots were not intended for use by Africans, and the city only rented such plots to those of Indian descent, who in turn rented them to black Africans. In Horn's book, Cultivating Customers: Market Women in Harare, Zimbabwe (1994), she references research T O undertaken by Barnes and Win , that clearly starts to give a picture of the kind of cultivation that is now currently undertaken by women in Harare. As Horn (ibid., 23) explains, During the 1930's, especially, a marked increase in the number of women selling fresh produce was observed throughout the city. As more women settled in town, the economic niche first established by the women farmers was expanded. At first, to provision their families, women began cultivating rice and maize on the open plain between Harari and Highfield, and vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, cabbage, and peas) along the Mukuvisi River. Thereafter, women in town created supply linkages with the women farmers... ENDA (1997), Gumbo (2000) Madzinvanyika (2001) and Chimonyo (2000) each acknowledge that urban farming was being practised prior to the 1980s. The ENDA (ibid.) research speculates the increase in vending and cultivation prior to the 1980s was precipitated by an influx of unemployed refugees, but does not give any indication of who carried out the farming and what kind of farming. Madzinvanyika (ibid.) and Bowyer-Bower et. al (1996) acknowledges urban farming as a practice dating back to the 1950s, and Chimonyo (ibid.) states that farming prior to the 1980s was undertaken by migrant workers, or 'foreigners' (often men). The label 'foreigner' has been generally applied to those who came to Zimbabwe from surrounding countries, like Malawi or Mozambique, in search of work. Ambiguity surfaces around using Mbiba's findings to make generalisations, because the gender breakdown was not provided, therefore masking some interesting uncertainties. 3 7 Jeater further indicates that the impetus of the colonial administrators to encourage women to the cities, was to encourage them to take up work as domestic labourers as it was more in line with English gender divisions of labour. 381 have tried many sources to obtain this book, but have not been able to obtain a copy. 3 9 Mbiba's (1995) findings found that 75% of the plots were 'owned' by women (63% respondents were women, and Mbiba indicates that 12% were hired labour, and suggests these men were hired by women). First, it is hard to know what the assumptions are inferred when 'foreigners' are referred to as migrant labourers, as these were generally men. However, Mbiba found that 55% of those without rural land were non Zimbabweans, which means that there would have been many women included in this category as well (36% of the total sample are non-Zimbabweans without rural land, and only 25% of the total sample are men). It should be noted too, that as recent as 1996, Zimbabwean women who married non-Zimbabweans lost their Zimbabwean citizenship, which lends a great deal of uncertainty around these findings in terms of assuming the genders of those who are labeled 'foreigners' as there are cultural practices that might obscure making gendered assumptions of who is, or who is not a 'foreigner'. 44 The small group of seven women I worked with, four of whom started cultivating in the sixties, will tell you only few men were cultivating open spaces. These women estimated that the proportion of men to women working their own fields is 1:10, or at most 2:10 (Focus Group Meeting, November 20, 2000), and there is doubt these ratios have changed significantly until recently. Today, this ratio is changing as researchers have recorded more men entering the practice of urban farming since the mid 1990s (Mbiba 2000, Mudimu 2001). The most reliable sources seem to come from the accounts of Barnes (1999) and Horn (1994) as their findings are grounded in first hand accounts and interviews of women who were living in Harare during these periods, as well as from archival materials. It is unclear from the other references the source of their data to support their assertions. It would seem a reasonable assumption, at least from the 1930s onwards, to suggest that the majority of those farming were women, with a smaller proportion being men, probably many of those men being 'foreigners', as this category of people has also experienced marginalisation and land alienation. Many of these men had no entitlement to rural land, and children born to those labelled as 'foreigners' continue to face challenges to obtain land, as land is passed down through patrilineal ties. For Zimbabwean women who married 'foreigners', they lost their national identity as Zimbabwean, and laws to revoke this custom were only recently applied in the 1990s. Evidence from aerial photographic coverage suggests that in 1955, one percent of open space areas in Harare were under cultivation, with a subsequent increase in cultivation on open spaces of twenty percent per annum between 1955 and 1980 (Bowyer-Bower, Mapaure and Drummond 1996, 55). Map 2 shows the layout of Harare, highlighting the abundant open spaces that were used to buffer and segregate neighbourhoods based on class and race. These are the open spaces that women and men continue to use to produce maize and vegetables. 45 Map 2 Map of Harare This map was created by scanning a map of Harare from the book Harare, The Growth and Problems of the City by Zinyama et al. (1993, 10) and final formatting and colour addition was done by myself. This map is from 1989 and still being used in most recent U A papers. Therefore, the amount of open space lost to development has not been adjusted for However, the map does give a sense of how much open space the city has available, as well as showing its spatial layout. 46 Olivia Muchena (1994, 354) makes the observation that perceptions of African women's roles in food production has undergone shifts over time. In pre-colonial times, women predominated the areas of food production, food processing and preparation. Married women had entitlement to their own fields which women cultivated a diversity of nutritious foods to compliment the cereal crops grown on the main household field. As Muchena (ibid. 350) explains, "The Shona women of pre-colonial society derived socio-economic status through their food production and reproduction roles." It has also been noted that women have ways in which they influence conditions in the public sphere through the kinds of influence women might have with their husbands within the home (Schmidt 1992, Sylvester 2000).41 As the narratives convey from the on and off again support for open space cultivation by male authorities since Independence, men have not been unified, nor are they today, in their ideas for supporting, or not supporting 'legal' U A for women. In fact, many male planners and professionals I spoke with had supportive ideas and reflections on SOSC. Table 3.2 Shifting Visibility of Women's Agricultural Work over Time Pre-Colonial Colonial Post-Independence Food Producer Invisible Subsistence Producers Limited Official Recognition of Women as Food Producers The research undertaken with seven women from Highfield provides further reliable first person accounts of the predominance of women farming after the 1960s until today. Four of the seven women I worked with started to farm open spaces during the 1960s. Mrs. Bushu worked in the fields her mother obtained near the site of Ford Motors until she married the following year and moved to her husband's rural homestead. According to Mrs. Bushu, "You could just go and get your own field- it was so easy- no one was doing it" (Interview, June 7, 2001). This echoes Mrs. Mukumbi's experiences farming in the mid 1960s, "No one owned the open spaces- just would ask if anyone was using the land- if not, I 4 1 An interesting passage is found in Sylvester's work (2000, 6) when she cites an interview with a male manager who works for Mazowe Citrus, '"Women are very powerful, but not in a conventional sense. In the house African women can control their husbands by very subtle means. If I think there will be unrest here, I talk to the women. If I can convince them, they go home and there is no problem. You can't measure their power by whether they speak out. Women can start or stop work stoppages'". 47 would use it. Town people were not interested in farming. People would laugh at me. At first I had fields near here, but when construction took place we moved out further" (Interview, September 12, 2001). Mrs. Mukumbi claimed over seven fields during these early periods. In 1962, Mrs. Kanondo gave birth to her first son and started cultivation. She says "At that time the area was all open spaces so there were many fields, so this is where I cultivated" (Interview, June 7, 2001). GROWING UP A W O M A N IN C O L O N I A L Z I M B A B W E : R U R A L CHILDHOODS T O L I F E IN H A R A R E Seven Biographies of Highfield Women In much of the literature on women and gender in Zimbabwe, writers discuss how imposed bourgeois and capitalist notions of 'women', coupled with Shona and Ndebele notions of 'women', created increased burden, oppression and in particular, negative imagery of Zimbabwean women (Gaidzanwa 1985). Labels such as 'immoral' and 'perverse' were applied to African women, and how and when these labels applied, shifted (recurrently) depending on perceived threats to patriarchal and/or colonial control and authority. "Well into the 1970's it was deemed customary for truly 'respectable women' to stay in the rural areas and look after a 'man's' land and family" (Sylvester 2000, 60). Meanwhile, independent, and especially unmarried women engaged in work in cities faced being labelled prostitutes, or making disrespectable livings. Liberal bourgeois attitudes, pre and post colonial, have been used extensively to assert men's subordination of women, and further to confine women to their reproductive roles within the domestic sphere. The irony is that despite all the attempts to maintain a homogenous narrative of what constitutes a 'woman'; the reality is that one seems to have never existed. Women, as individuals, each have their own unique identities, self understandings, and experiences that are uniquely shaped by history, tradition, family, gender constructs and social constructs. Identities of motherhood and 'woman' can be both oppressive and empowering. It has been documented by other early entrants to open space cultivation that they were ridiculed, and that cultivation had been an embarrassing issue. See Mbiba (1995) and Mapimhidze (2000). 48 Despite great resistance, exhibited by both men and women to maintain their rural livelihoods, many Zimbabwean men were forced to leave their homes and families to enter the wage economy. This resulted in an exodus of men from their rural homelands, re-enforcing colonial and capitalist precepts that men were the appropriate wage earners, and women were more suited to their reproductive/ domestic responsibilities and therefore, necessitated them to remain closer to the home. With husbands absence, women in the rural areas faced an increase burden as they were now left with performing their own productive and reproductive responsibilities, as well as the former responsibilities of their husbands, which included: ploughing, planting and harvesting crops. Although husbands initially entered employment to raise money for their families, wages were inadequate to support their families. In many cases, men had very little financial assistance to offer. Being away from their wives for long periods of time, it is also documented that some men spent their incomes on girlfriends or supporting new wives and families in their new surroundings. Schmidt and Barnes have recounted the narratives of Zimbabwean women who ventured from their rural homes into emerging urban centres. Women left for numerous possible reasons, including; to earn incomes for themselves and for their families, to be with their husbands, to locate husbands, to flee abusive relationships, neglect and/or poverty, to seek a new life or independent start. As few services were available to Zimbabwean men working in cities or mining compounds, women created various opportunities for themselves in these emerging centres despite repressive colonial legislation enacted to limit women's mobility and rights. The Native Marriage Ordinance of 1901, pronounced women as legal minors and were therefore, denied independent access to land, housing or wage employment. Nonetheless, the limited opportunities available for women to participate in the new capitalist economy, while posing significant barriers, did not stop some women's migration to cities, or from taking up agricultural work. I arrived in my field research site with the above background information on the plight of women in Zimbabwe, and a general sense of the dominant gender relations and identities in the national culture and society. Yet, I was aware that national-level trends may not be necessarily reflected in local settings and individual lives. Sitting and talking to the women in their homes, there was a feeling reminiscent to my own childhood home- they had that just been cleaned look, with knickknacks and photos displayed and arranged in just a 49 precise way that you would notice if something was askew. And it was quiet, with perhaps some laundry folding and ironing underway. Some living rooms were quite airy and well furnished, some with televisions and stereos. The arms and backs of chairs and couches had those protective fabric coverings, probably made by the women themselves, as many of them were accomplished sewers and crocheters. Hard to say what struck me as feeling familiar in these situations, but I imagined it was their roles as 'homemakers', as I could, coming from 'my world' identify these commonalities. Zimbabwe was not immune to the influences of western bourgeois domesticity, nor were the lives of black Zimbabwean women (West 2002). The Christian mission schools that provided an education for many women, often translated into instruction on cooking, sewing, laundry work, home gardening, as well as learning to read and write. It was the intentions of these colonial sorties into African family and cultural structures, that such an education would transform African women into obedient wives and dutiful mothers, where the home would be kept clean and orderly, and African women would gain a source of pride and fulfilment from these proscribed roles, while husbands left the home for work.43 But these women's lives were much different than those of the contingent of domestic homemakers my mom was a part of back in small town white middle class Canada. From what I learned of their lives, they not only tried to fulfil the model of a 'good homemaker', they used their skills to work outside the home, to support their families, and to develop livelihoods that allowed them a great deal of mobility, independence, as well as opportunities to come together with other women. The accounts of the personal lives of these seven women are pieced together from in-depth interviews. Each woman varied in the amount of detail she provided for different periods of her life. All of the women, except one, grew up in a rural area, with parents of Zimbabwean nationality. These women from an early age were exposed to hard work, subsistence agriculture and a rural livelihood that was already contorted by over forty years of colonial interference. Many described living within extended families, with grandparents, uncles and aunties. Although most ethnic groups and clans are patrilineal and patrilocal in Zimbabwe ' Where the colonial system left off, donors and NGOs have pursued women's income generating projects with a focus on sewing, knitting, crocheting, and other areas deemed 'suitable' for women, often at the exclusion of building their skills in other areas where women have experience and knowledge, such as in agriculture, business, marketing and entrepreneurship, among others (Sylvester 2000, Muchena 1994). 50 (for example, upon marriage, a wife will go to live with her husband's family), Mrs. Kanondo lived with her maternal grandparents. She grew up in Bindura, living with her parents, maternal grandparents, an uncle, three aunties and her brothers. The 1940s, as she recalls, were relatively good as her parents were good farmers and reaped an adequate harvest. Her days were spent digging out edible crickets, swimming in the rivers and streams, fishing with nets made from sacs, gathering fruits, cultivating, watering, and guarding the fields from monkeys and baboons. She also remembers playing a game where the kids would pretend they were adults. She did not attend school until the age of 10 and received eight years of education completing standard six. At the age of 18, her family moved to Chinoyi as her father went to take care of his mother after his father died. Here they lived with her grandmother, an uncle and his wife, two aunties and their kids. She was cultivating, looking after cattle, milking cows, cooking, fetching water, and going to buy things at the shops. In a separate interview, we learned that Mrs. Kanondo had spent six months in a convent at Mukumbe Mission (Roman Catholic). She had hoped to get a nursing education. She explained that during the 1950s parents believed in just sending boy children, not girl children to school, and her stay at the convent caused problems at home. Her father, being the decision-maker for the family, was very upset with her mother because she was at a convent. She told us her mother had to sleep in the bush. Being the only girl at home, the convent did not keep her, as they did not like taking the only girl child from a home. Mrs. Kanondo met her husband in 1960, although it was not clear from my records whether she met her husband in Harare when she went to visit her brother living in Old Harare, or whether they met near her rural home in Chinoyi. Regardless, it was a year later that they got married and took residence in Harare as lodgers. All of the women received some education, ranging from at least five years, upwards to eight or nine. Most likely, they received some part, if not all of their education at mission schools, like Mrs. Kanondo and Mrs. Kondowe. Mrs. Kondowe grew up in Wedza, which she described as a "niceplace". Unlike Mrs. Kanondo's family, Mrs. Kondowe had many sisters in her family. This is why, she told us, one of her major activities in her childhood was herding cattle, even though this was considered a man's job in rural areas. She was also responsible for weeding, cultivating, cooking, making peanut butter, making sadza from 51 rapoko, fetching water, household washing and looking for firewood. She attended Chemanza Mission School around the age of seven and completed standard six. Her first child was born just after she finished up school at the age of 15 or 16. Mrs. Kondowe stayed in Wedza until 1970 when she went to Harare to live with her sister and her family residing in Mbare. Mrs. Kondowe met and married her husband (who was from Malawi) a year or so after moving to the city when she was working a factory job as a raincoat quality checker. Right after marriage, she and her husband moved to Highfields into the home she now lives. Mrs. Chingono was also raised in a family of many women. She was the fourth born and fourth girl born to her parents when they were living in Seke (an area within Chitungwiza) in 1954. The following year, the family moved to Zvimba, and another baby was born. Her uncle's son came to stay with them to attend school. Mrs. Chingono also spent her time herding cattle, as well as goats. She worked in the fields, cooked and cleaned. She began her education at age five, and when she finished standard five, her family did not have money to continue to send her to school. The next year, 1966, Mrs. Chingono moved to her Aunt's home in Musengezi (which is close to Zvimba) so she could attend standard six at a government school for free. Mrs. Chingono met her husband near her rural residence and got married in 1968, around the time she finished up school. She married a man from Rusape who was working as a postmaster in Harare. They acquired the house she now resides in from the City Council at that time. Mrs. Nthwana, Mrs. Mukumbi and Mrs. Bushu described difficult childhoods. Mrs. Nthwana was born the fourth child of five in Chiweshe in 1947. She resided with her parents, an uncle, his wife and children. She told us that her family struggled when she was young as she grew up without a father. Her father died before her fourth birthday and there are no photos of him, so she does not even know his face. They moved into her uncles' home after her father's death and she says her family lived in poverty. Like the other women, Mrs. Nthwana says she also helped to herd cattle, in addition to weeding fields, fetching water, cleaning and sweeping. She started school at the age of seven or eight and at the young age of 13, she went to live with her sister in Harare, where she attended standard four. Her sister's household had fifteen children as her sister's husband had two other wives. It would 4 4 Sadza is the staple food made from boiling ground maize into a thick enough consistency it can be eaten with the fingers. In this case, the grain rapoko was used to make sadza. 52 be three more years living in Harare before Mrs. Nthwana would marry her husband, a South African man with permanent urban residence. Mrs. Nthwana became a permanent urban resident after marriage. She compared her life in Harare to the rural areas saying that she no longer had to herd cattle, they could use a sink to wash clothes in, instead of using the river. As cooking did not require the use of stones, and she could stand while cooking. Mrs. Mukumbi has recalled a very difficult period before she was even five years old. She was born in 1947. She lived with her parents, two sisters, two brothers, and five uncles. Her brother fell ill and so her mother left with this child to see a faith healer in Rusape.45 Her father was old and had other wives, and despite the presence of other adults, she says she and her siblings were left to take care of themselves for two years. She rernembers having to bathe herself, and search for food. Her brother pelted birds. Later, Mrs. Mukumbi helped in the fields, cleaned house, and took care of her baby brother. In the mid to late 1950s, she worked at a local store owned by a white farmer. She got the job because she was literate, having completed her education up to O levels. During this same period, her brothers were leaving home in search of work, while her sisters were getting married. Mrs. Mukumbi moved to Lusaka in Highfields from her rural home when she married in 1964. She was around 17 when she married a bus driver from Mutare. Mrs. Bushu was born in Rusape in 1942 where she lived with her mother, grandparents and an uncle. Her father had left for South Africa before she was even born. As a child, she looked after goats, donkeys and cattle. She sold vegetables to the local community and helped with cultivation. Mrs. Bushu attended school at the age of nine and went to standard three. During the school years, she helped with household activities, fetching water and firewood, cleaning, polishing the floor with cow dung and helping with ploughing and cultivation. At the age of 18 or 19, Mrs. Bushu and her mother moved to Harare. She said her mother moved as she had lost hope that her husband would ever return. They moved back and forth from Harare to Rusape. While in the city, Mrs. Bushu helped her mom with urban cultivation, as well as making crocheted doilies to sell. Mrs. Bushu met and married her husband a year or so after moving to the city after which she went to live at her husband's rural home in Shamva. I did not record the name of where Mrs. Mukumbi was born, but she mentioned Rusape, so I think it was somewhere close to Rusape, which is 170 kilometers south east of Harare. 53 Mrs. Benjamin is the only woman of the group who did not grow up on an African rural homestead. She was born and raised on a white owned farm within 14 kilometres of downtown Harare, where both her parents worked as farm labourers. This was Williams Farm, located near where Mabvuku, a suburb of Harare, is now situated. Mrs. Benjamin was born in 1939 along with her twin brother. There were five girls and three boys in her family. As a child, she did household chores like cleaning and washing dishes. When she was 8, she went to live with her sister and her family. The house was small so they had no room for gardening. It was at this time too, she told us, that her father left for Malawi to look for work, as he was unemployed. At the age of ten, Mrs. Benjamin started school and was already able to speak English. By 18, Mrs. Benjamin had married a man from Malawi, who worked as a welder in Harare. They moved to Highfields where they rented accommodation. Six of the seven women moved to Harare in the year they got married. All but possibly two of the women met their husbands while visiting or residing in Harare. As a group, all but one of the women took up residence in Harare after marriage, and all at young ages (between the ages of 14 and 23), accounting for their strong urban ties. These women have lived in Harare for an average of thirty-eight years. Table 3.3 provides a summary of their background information. Almost all of that time they have resided in Highfields. 54 Table 3.3 Personal Information & Urban Residency Name Place of Birth and Year Year and Age When Married Movement into Harare # of Years In Harare Work History Educational Background Mrs. Benjamin 1939- Williams Farm. Located near Mabvuku. She is a twin. 1957 at age 18. Husband passed away in 1999. Lived near Harare all her life. Moved into Harare townships with husband in 1957. At least 47. Home garden and rabbits. Home sales maputi, drinks, fruit. Urban cultivation. Standard 1 to Standard 3. Started school at age 10. Mrs. Bushu 1945- Rusape. Father went to SA for work before her birth. 1962 at age 20. Husband left in 1997. 1961-62 with mother until married. 1980 moved full time. 43 years with stints in rural area. Crocheting, cross border trading, cook in restaurant. Urban & rural cultivation. Sub A and B, Standard 1 to 3. Started at age 6 to 10. Mrs. Chingono 1955. Born in Chitungwiza (urban), grew up in Zvimba. 1967, age 14. Husband passed away in 1987. 1968- 1977- moved to city after marriage. 36 years w/ stints in rural area. Dressmaking, crocheting, petty trading. Urban & rural cultivation. Sub A and B. Standard 1-6. Started at age 5 to 12. Mrs. Kanonodo 1942 in Bindura Lived with large extended family. 1961 at age 14. Husband is now retired 1960 visited brother in Harare. 1961 moved to Harare with husband. 28 years w/ stints in rural areas. Crocheting, sewing, raising chickens. Urban and rural cultivation. Sub A and B. Standard 1-6. Started at age 10 to 17. Mrs. Kondowe 1947 in Wedza. Lots of sisters in her family. 1971 at age 23. Husband passed away in 1996 1970 came to Harare to live with sister. 1971 married and stayed permanently. 24 years. Factory worker, cashier, store clerk, health volunteer, urban cultivation Starts school at age 8 until 15. Finishes Standard 6. Mrs. Mukumbi 1947 near Mutare Bom into a large extended family. 1964 at age 17. Husband is a driver when work is available. 1964- moved to city after marriage. 30 years w/ stints in rural areas. Shop clerk, petty trading, cross border trading, raising chickens. Urban and rural cultivation Started school at age 8. Went to O level. Mrs. Nthwane 1947 in Chiweshe Father died when she was four. 1963 at age 16-17. Husband is now retired. 1960 came to live with sister to continue with school. 33 years. Store clerk, petty trading, cross border trading, sewing, crocheting Sub A and Sub B. Standard 1 to 4. Started at age 7. 55 H I S T O R I C A L R O O T S O F L A N D A L I E N A T I O N O F U R B A N W O M E N As noted throughout this chapter, women have experienced considerable obstacles in garnering individual rights to land as women. Colonial administrative and economic policies allowed no African to own rural land, and post-colonial policies have made few sincere attempts to rectify the preferential land rights bestowed to men and black elites at black women's expense. An understanding of why urban women have taken to using the open spaces within Harare directly relates to the mechanisms or ways that women have become dispossessed or disinherited from the rights to rural land. From the findings in this research, there are a number of scenarios that explained women's lack of access to rural land, and these are worth noting as there are widely held views that urban households all have strong linkages to their rural homes and land. This research revealed that while urban households may have linkages to their rural areas, these may be weakened, broken or not an option. In particular, women within urban households may not actually have access or ownership to rural land or a homestead. Therefore, this can be a wrongly held assumption, given the following scenarios. 1. Marriage to African Men From Outside Zimbabwe Three of the women married men who were not from Zimbabwe (from South Africa and Malawi), and hence, these men had no customary access to land in Zimbabwe to provide to their wives after marriage. Furthermore, up until 1996, Zimbabwean women who married men from outside the country had to give up their Zimbabwean citizenship. Although this has been rectified legally, cultural traditions can still be pervasive and Zimbabwean born women married to 'foreigners' may still be regarded by some as 'foreigners' themselves.46 During a focus group session where we discussed access to land, one woman explained that "If you are a woman and you get married then you join your husband's family. If the husband does not have land, then you do not get land, you will have none. " Further, some male 'foreigners' have only resided in urban areas and are What has been particularly interesting in regards to writings on UA in Zimbabwe, is that cultivators, especially references to early cultivators, are referred to as 'foreigners' often without specifying if these are men or women. Most often 'foreigners' has been used to refer to male migrant labourers who came to Zimbabwe, however, there is not clarity from Zimbabwean UA researchers whether they have also applied the term 'foreigner' to women who married men outside Zimbabwe. This is an ambiguity that is worth clarifying in future research. Furthermore, 'foreigners' face issues of land alienation and discrimination (Moyo 1999). 56 no longer accustomed to rural living, like Mrs. Nthwana's husband. As Mrs. Nthwana explained, "My husband is not used to staying in a rural home. I would myself, but he wouldn 7 go " (October 25, 2000). 2. Born and Raised Without A Rural Home Those who have been born and raised in urban areas, or on farms, may not have rural land or homes to claim ownership of. This was the case for Mrs. Benjamin whose parents lived and worked on a white owned farm near Harare in the 1930's/40s. Additionally, Mrs. Benjamin married a man from Malawi so she did not gain access to rural land through marriage either. This may continue to be a trend as more Zimbabweans are born and raised in cities. As observed by the women during our focus group on land "In rural areas they are reserving land. It's not for people in town. The land is given to the community there. Especially for urban dwellers, they don't have land, the land in the rural area is divided up and given to those who are there ". 3. Death, Divorce and Abandonment Upon divorce or death, some urban women will lose their rights to their rural home and/or land. Advocacy groups assert that the constitution of Zimbabwe, 'the mother of all laws', permits gender and race discrimination47. Explained by Lydia Zigomo-Nyatsanza of the Zimbabwe Women Lawyer's Association (Evening lecture on women's land rights, October 18, 2000), although the constitution may claim all persons are equal, they do not enjoy equal access to the law. As the majority of African women will not have the home and other capital, such as land, registered in her name, women will just have occupancy rights, therefore, under the constitution, women already start from an unequal position relative to men. The constitution allows traditional and customary laws to prevail in areas such as marriage, death, divorce etc.; areas that are of particular concern to women. Various women and human rights organisations are lobbying to have sections of the constitution removed. For example, sections 23 and section 111 (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Essof 1999, 11) negate to a great extent women's rights in Zimbabwe. Section 23, whilst prohibiting gender discrimination by state officials, allows sex and gender discrimination in the application of personal law, which consists of all the family laws relating to marriage, rights to property, rights to children and inheritance. Gender discrimination is further permitted in 4 7 The constitution is a contentious issue with these groups on other fronts as well. 57 the application of customary law i n the allocating of rights to tribes people i n communal lands and i n the qualification for holding public office and i n the spending of public revenue. Section 111(b) states that 'no international treaty, covenant or agreement signed and ratified by the government shall form a part of the local laws unless Parliament passes a law making the agreement part of the laws of Zimbabwe'. Thus the most important document on women's rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), although signed and ratified by the government in 1991 with no reservations, is not a part of the local law of Zimbabwe. This means that women can not approach the courts alleging the infringement of any rights which they may have under CEDAW, as such rights are not protected under local laws. I learned how women can lose entitlement to land and homes from one of the women I worked with. After Mrs. Chingono's husband passed away in 1987, his family proceeded to dispossess her and her children of their rural home and all her belongings.48 They also took the family car, cattle, even her cooking pots. She was left to start with what she had at her home in Harare. Mrs. Chingono expressed fear that his family would try to take the urban home too. We were told his family said things like "We won't listen to you, you 're a woman. Go back to where you came from. " She had to spend money to hire a lawyer to secure the urban home, and now the title deed is in her son's name, not hers. Until this time, she had been going to the rural areas to cultivate. When she started living full time in the city, she said she took her hoe and started looking for a field in the city. Mrs. Bushu's family had been re-located during the war, and they were moved to a camp for displaced families in 1977. When she and her husband moved to Harare in 1980, she no longer talked of any relationship to a rural homestead. Further, in 1987, her husband abandoned his family and left Mrs. Bushu on her own to care for herself and the children. Although it is not clear if the displacement from their home before 1980 is the reason for her having no rural land, or if it is due to her husband leaving, or other conditions within the family I am unaware of. 4 8 It was in 1997 that the Inheritance Act was revised to allow widows to be the heirs of their deceased husband's estates (Kunaka et al. 2000, ZWRCN & SARDC 1998). However, even with such changes, women may still be harassed and require legal advisement and services to obtain protection under the law. 58 4. Decision Making & Access To Resources Within The Household Although some married urban women may have access to rural land, they may not have the resources or opportunity to develop it. This could be for numerous reasons: men have not invested in the rural home, women do not have sufficient financial resources; husbands requiring their wives to remain in the city; land has been sold, given or occupied by another person through the consent of the husband; etc. Mrs. Mukumbi explained that she would prefer to live in a rural home, however, although her husband has rural land, she told us that "When I got married and was still young, he had not done anything at the rural home, so I came here when he was working. I kept hoping we'd settle and save up but things seem to get harder and harder" (June 17, 2001). She is using her own money to save up to invest in her rural home and is seeking land, as her husband is spending his earnings on 'indulgences' outside the home. 5. Cultural Expectations I inquired with two of the women who were married to non-Zimbabweans if there was a possibility of obtaining land from their rural homes from childhood. The first response was "If you 're married, you can't go back to the rural area, to home. " Even under such circumstances, cultural customs do not permit women to gain land from their own families once you are married, because land is passed on to the sons, not daughters. As one women stated "your family cuts you out from getting land once your married" (Focus Group November 20, 2000). When further probed, both women said that they could cultivate at their own families' rural home. In fact Mrs. Nthwana paid someone to cultivate one year and then went herself when it was time to weed. But the women made it clear that this was not a 'culturally' accepted practice for women to go back to their own rural homes. Cultural traditions have been cited as reasons for barring women from their rights to own land in other UA research (Hovorka 2001, 1998, Quon 1998, Abdul-Ghaniyu et al. 2002, Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996, Bourque 2000). Care-giving roles also preclude women's mobility for extended periods of time and this is particularly relevant with the impact of HIV/AIDS and the burden of care giving on older women, like those I worked with. Also, women may not want or enjoy living with their husbands' families, and prefer to have their own home where they are not under the eyes or orders of their husbands' family members. 59 6. Their Homes are in the City Like the two women who said they could use land at their childhood family homes, some women wish to fully reside in the urban area and not be forced to leave seasonally and live a migrant lifestyle. They have their own lives in the city; they have family, friendships and support networks. And they have created an option (urban farming) for themselves that has reduced the time and cost of travelling to rural locations to grow food. It was clear that within this group of seven women, there were some who would prefer living in the city to rural life, those that would prefer to have a rural home, and those that would be content with having both. (Mrs. Kanondo was the only woman in this group that still went to her husband's rural homestead to cultivate). Further, some women may want to stay closer to their husbands, maybe even just to keep an eye on what is going on in and outside the home. 7. Re-Settlement In Rural Areas & Other Access Channels Several of the women in this research were looking for land in rural areas and were having very little success. Mrs. Mukumbi explained that she put her name in the queue for land re-distribution but did not get it. She said that if you have a relative in the area you applied for land in, and if you pretend you are from that area, then you might get land. Mrs. Bush said that if someone is the child of a headman, then they will get land. Another woman confirmed she could get land because her father is a headman. Urban residency is a barrier in many cases. It was explained that "if a husband works in town, and the wife is in the rural area, then it is possible to get land. If the wife is in town, then you probably will not get land" (Interview, November 20, 2000). C L O S I N G Generally, many academics and writers on UA in Harare, focus on the early 1990s when considerable rises in open space cultivation were being documented, and attribute the practice to the economic hardships imposed by structural adjustment policies. Certainly, as statistics have shown, there was a considerable increase in new entrants in open space cultivation in the 1990s. But what about before the 1990s, when women were already predominating the practice of open space cultivation? There are many possible explanations that could be explored for understanding the persistence of 60 UA. Mbiba (2000) has suggested that urban cultivation provided colonial administrators an excuse to pay workers meagre wages.49 Conversely, or in addition (these ideas are not mutually exclusive!), urban cultivation could also represent an introduction of a 'peasant' enterprise/economy that the colonial administrators and white farmers had so desperately sought to destroy during the early days of colonialism. The colonial authorities tried to enforce 'urban' conventions such that "the Native will either become a peasant farmer only, or become an industrialised worker with his tentacles pulled out of the soil" (Phimister 199-, 251). The entrance of women into the city, and their subsequent tilling of urban soil, dismissed any notion of cities full of male workers, or of urban peoples dispossessed of their cultural ties to the soil. There may also have been incentives for women to produce food to ensure their husbands stayed at home, as some men had wives and families in rural and urban areas. Perhaps colonial authorities overlooked food production by women as they viewed these women as stabilising forces50 that encouraged women to be with their husbands in the city and to form nuclear families and households. Farming in the city is an expression of a cultural practice linked to the role women play as food providers and, as well as a practice from which women have garnered independence, self esteem and influence within their households. It has also persisted as it represents work that can be done with the hands, an important skill that is relied upon by some older women who have had limited educational and 'formal' employment opportunities. As the practice grew and developed into a land tenure system organised by women through their social networks, the practice may have persisted because of the important role it played to provide mutual support networks during difficult times experienced within and outside the household. It has a unique character of blending independent and collaborative elements. I would contend that UA, even today, represents a form of resistance, defiance and ingenuity to overcome the barriers these early and later women residents have encountered, which were imposed by male 4 9 This rationale does not examine why women chose to cultivate. As Schmidt (1992) has aptly pointed out "African women did not remain in the rural areas cultivating subsistence plots merely because it was functional for settler capital..." African women in cities would have had their own reasons too. Some of these are further explored in this thesis. 5 0 Older married women, in particular, with long standing residence in urban areas, were not considered threatening to colonial authorities as their independent work was considered stabilising influences as women helped to reproduce the labour force. However, even such a conclusion is complicated by numerous other factors. See Schmidt 1992 and Jeater 1993. 61 authority figures, within and outside the home, pre and post independence. Schmidt (1992) refers to early urban women residents who defied such obstacles and undermined patriarchal authority as rebels; perhaps these pioneers of urban open space cultivation might be too. The persistence of food production on open spaces by women could be due to a combination of reasons. For each woman who cultivates, however, there is a different mixture of explanations to uncover. And history is full of contradictory trajectories, opinions, and uncertainties. What is common about many of these explanations is that they speak to the broader context beyond the individual. And that is what this thesis is about, not just women who cultivate open spaces, but also the spaces between these lives and practices of women who also cultivate open spaces, and the social, political, institutional and economic environment at the neighbourhood, municipal and national level. Such connections are uncovered and shared in this thesis that provides gender and feminist analysis of open space cultivation in Harare. 62 CHAPTER IV At The Neighbourhood Scale, There Is Strength In Enterprising Women INTRODUCTION This chapter shares findings of how Harare's farming women, particularly mothers, have acted as social agents and important contributors to their communities, by utilising their various independent and collective strategies of accessing resources for the benefit of their households. The land tenure system created by this group of urban women is elaborated in greater detail, demonstrating the different ways that the women access land through their social networks, and the challenges faced in accessing and retaining these rights to open space cultivation. Evidence provided through their land access methods, as well as their other strategies for earning incomes, demonstrates a distinct form of organisation, ones that have been historically unacknowledged, ignored, trivialised and impeded by those in decision making power. T H E CONTRIBUTIONS AND S T R E N G T H O F ENTERPRISING W O M E N In Zimbabwe, identities of men, women and families are influenced by a complex array of social and cultural expectations and gender role definitions from pre-colonial times, which were significantly affected by western bourgeois values imposed by the white settler colonial state, Christianity and from international 'development' interventions. Women have historically played varied productive roles since colonialism -- working outside the home for monetary incomes, and compensating for male wages that are either insufficient to care for all the needs of the family or that are not shared within the household. Men's roles have been very narrowly defined since colonialism as the primary wage earner and symbolic head of the household, although in reality there are now many female headed households and women always have contributed financially and materially to their households. 63 Interesting insights of how the women have perceived their roles within their homes were shared during a focus group session on women's access to land. The following excerpt has been translated and paraphrased to capture the ideas conveyed in the discussion: Comment 1 In town, women mostly find land because they feel the burden at home-It is easier for women to find land in town because men go to work. Comment 2 Women know the problems in the house- husband's don't even know their problems. It's up to the women... Men are not even sympathetic to kids-it 's the mother that's sympathetic. Men clap the kids. Comment 3 Men say "That's why I married you- you should go out and cultivate ". Men go to work. Comment 4 No one says "at that man's house there is no food"- they say "at that woman's house there is no food" Comment 5 Because of the problems we see, we go out and cultivate. (Focus Group, November 20, 2000) Gender-role expectations of women, as noted in the above passages and in Chapter 3, are tied to their being providers of food, primary care givers to the young and elderly, undertaking household work such as cleaning, washing, cooking. As can be discerned from this exchange, the women feel it is them, the mothers and wives, who are attentive to the problems within the household. Further, the women clearly indicate that it is their role to feed the family, and this has facilitated not only their involvement in cultivating urban land, but also a variety of income generating opportunities they balance with their domestic responsibilities. The roles these women play as food providers and care-givers and their own self identification as mothers and wives revealed that the responsibilities for social reproduction fell largely on women. Identities of individual men and women are not easy to simplify, yet like any society broader social relations influence and impact individuals. The timing of the women's marriage, starting families, number of children, spacing of births, and migration to the big city has shaped their life experiences. They had between four to seven children over one decade or less. Most of the women were starting families in the 1960s, (except Mrs. Kondowe who started her family in 1970), and all but Mrs. Bushu were living at least part time in Harare. Mrs. Benjamin, Mrs. Kanondo, Mrs. Nthwana, and Mrs. Kondowe resided full time in the city after marriage, while Mrs. Mukumbi and Mrs. Chingono went to live at their husbands' rural homes 64 during the cultivation season, based on some form of regular commuting or circular migration. Mrs. Bushu went to live at her husband's rural home on a permanent basis, until her return to Harare in 1980. These rural to urban migration trends took place at a time Harare was experiencing rapid rates of urbanisation and land conversion for non-agricultural use. The women had to engage in various entrepreneurial activities because they carried a great deal of responsibility for providing for their families. These included being responsible for all domestic work, care giving, producing food, and finding ways of generating income, or offsetting monetary expenses within the household. As well, extended visits from other family members were quite normal in their urban households. Table 4.1 below shows the range of activities each of the women engaged in since marriage to take care of their dependants. The table does not include their involvement in voluntary work or activity within clubs or churches. Several women went to produce food in their husbands' rural areas and some were quite active in petty trading and selling locally, in rural areas, and across borders. Table 4.1 Summary of Entrepreneurial Income Generating Work Person Rural Farming Urban Farming Trading /Selling in Zim Trading/ Selling outside Zim Crochet Work Sewing Chicken Rearing Home Sales * Work in Formal Sector Mrs. Benjamin Yes Yes Mrs. Bushu Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Mrs. Chingono Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Mrs. Kanondo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Mrs. Kondowe Yes Yes Yes Mrs. Mukumbi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Mrs. Ntwana Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes * Home sales- people often purchase and resell such items as drinks (like coke and sprite), maputi, freezits, chibuku (beer). Mrs. Benjamin also sold avocados from her avocado tree. 65 Cross-Border Trading Women's involvement in cross border trading as a form of entrepreneurship is quite intriguing as it demonstrates a unique example of how the women worked together in their neighbourhood to overcome challenges to developing their own individual trading enterprises. Mrs. Bushu, Mrs. Mukumbi and Mrs. Nthwana each mentioned cross border trading trips they took with other women. A s Mrs. Mukumbi explained, a group of women formed a club to look for transportation down to Johannesburg, as there was no available transport return in the mid 1980s. They hired a bus to take them to Joburg, booked a hotel, and the same bus would take them to areas around the city to sell. Each woman would go individually to sell, and then the women would meet up later. These trips lasted two weeks. Mrs. Mukumbi , the organiser that she seems to be, helped to initiate and organise these trips. She sold her crochet work. Mrs. Bushu, perhaps on the same trips as Mrs. Mukumbi, also went down to South Africa during the mid 1980s. She went down and traded her crocheted doilies for money or clothes. With the money the women earned, she said, they would buy household items like televisions and cabinets and would bring these items back to Zimbabwe to sell. Mrs. Bushu, recalls these trips fondly, as times improved in her home because the money she earned allowed her to buy new things for her home. Mrs . Nthwana told us she went on such trips with other women to South Africa and Botswana. During these trips she went and sold groundnuts, veggies, seat covers she had sewn, and dried veggies. I found their initiative inspiring, a clear example of how women wi l l take action and organise on their own, in their own ways, in spite of barriers, and without dependency on development dollars. A s well , it demonstrates how the women balance their interests in working together, and working independently. This represents an interesting form of organisation that is revealed in other activities discussed in this chapter. Other women talked of trading within Zimbabwe, especially in areas where they had family. Mrs. Chingono ordered second hand clothes and sold them, and Mrs. Nthwana went to Mbare to buy things to sell in Chiweshe (the rural area where she was born). Many of the women had acquired skills in sewing and crocheting, which provided them a means to sell or trade their own handmade goods for money or other household products 66 such as food stuffs, clothes and re-saleable merchandise. Mrs. Nthwana and Mrs. Kanondo both saved their money to purchase sewing machines and worked from their homes. Two women ran backyard chicken rearing operations, while three of the women had some employment history within the formal sector. Mrs. Kondowe, during the 1970s, worked for several years in a clothes shop, and worked later as a till operator at a store, leaving each of these positions when she became pregnant. In the 1960s after Mrs. Nthwana's first child was born, she worked at a dry cleaners, losing it when the business went bankrupt. Mrs. Bushu worked as a cook in the 1980s, but only for six months because she broke her leg and had to be off work. All of the women took up urban farming. So, it is apparent that these women craft(ed) diverse livelihoods for themselves, which in many cases, must demand a great deal of organisation, flexibility, determination, and a network of friendships and support. Other Forms Of Women's Social Networks I saw glimpses and witnessed aspects of the kinds of support networks that the women created and joined. There were networks created from women's clubs, church groups, volunteer work, and then just the kind of relationships and networks that get formed from living together for long periods of time. Friendship networks were evident in so many different ways; when someone's adult child passed away, or when the women were looking for work and for fields, when they shared stories of difficulties, when they have church group meetings in their homes, or when they made an effort to work as a group during this field work. And it was these relationships and networks that made things happen, and of course, created access for some women to urban farming. During one interview, Mrs. Bushu explained how she ranked the importance of those who contributed to her household. She explained why she ranked the 'handouts' from people in the community and the Church as the most valuable. The translation of her thoughts went something like this: She ranked U A as fourth because it just helps out for a short while. Friends are more frequent and lodgers are less frequent. "These friends are something great coming from God and the Church. It is God's grace that I have friends and the Church and that is why I ranked them that way." (Interview, October 26, 2000). In fact, these gestures from the Church and friends were instrumental to the 67 survival of her family, she stated. The Church she went to was paying for her granddaughter's school fees, and her friends were offering support with gifts of staples and food. Mrs. Bushu explained that without such help, especially the school fees, it would be 11 just another cycle of poverty'". The way in which Mrs. Bushu conveyed her feelings was easy to understand even with the language barrier; she was moved by the generosity of those around her. Mrs. Kondowe was a part of a unique network too. She has been a community health volunteer since 1986 when the City Council and Zanu PF were training local women to teach other women in their communities about child health related issues. They work regularly, certainly not for the remuneration (they received a small stipend to pay for soap to wash their uniforms), and go to neighbourhoods to provide outreach to households. They sometimes use drama and skits to educate. She has made friends from her volunteer work and even received one of her fields from another health worker. When we asked Mrs. Mukumbi how she got to know the women she invited to the first gathering of twenty women, she said that many went to her church and they had lived in the area for a long time, and knew one another. Mrs. Kondowe and Mrs. Nthwana live across the street from one another and they have grown accustomed to helping each other. For example, Mrs. Kondowe borrowed a hoe from Mrs. Nthwana because hers was too heavy, and each of them would share green mealies with the other depending on who went to their fields that day. All of them shared their harvests with friends and neighbours, and as Mrs. Chingono said, it promoted good relations. Like most friendships, there is an element of reciprocity that is demonstrated within their relationships. Although the material and financial wealth differed between the women, each household experienced unique, as well as similar challenges to one another. Most of the data refer to current or recent circumstances. During my first visit to Zimbabwe, two of the households were already reporting hunger. These are households where the women are heads of their households and, additionally, are responsible for the care of grandchildren. As Mrs. Benjamin explained, First and foremost, my suffering continues. Times are hard. I have five grandkids to look after... My only source of income is from lodgers, and this goes to rates and electricity and other things. Rates are 1400/month. 68 The pension from my husband is 500/month. I have to go to town to the post office to get the pension. It is day to day survival- sometimes the kids will have nothing. (Interview, June 7, 2001) Mrs. Bushu's household had one young son and her teenage granddaughter at home. The only secure income she had was from lodgers, which amounted to 1000 Zimbabwean dollars a month, yet the costs of rates, electricity and school fees alone far surpass her income, resulting in days where there is not enough money for food. // is at night that I think about this and cry. It could be one day that the City comes and turns off the water. The bill is so large. It is so hopeless. And there is no where to get money from. First priority is to get mealie meal. 20 kilograms for a month. There is no money for bread. After mealie meal, I target soap and oil for relish. I have my own vegetable garden. The main problem is with the City Council and bills. (Interview, June 7, 2001) Even in households that seemed materially and financially better off two women reported changes in household conditions. Mrs. Nthwana described that her household had changed their daily diets after the recent retirement of her husband from his job. She told us that they can not afford milk with tea, or to do laundry as often, and their consumption of bread has been replaced with porridge. Mrs. Nthwana described the situation, Rates are going up in July again. Last increase was in January... and I haven't even talked about school fees and visitors coming from rural areas. It's tough when prices go up. The price of bread is the same for those who have and those who don't. Then there is all these break ins. Next door neighbours on Friday had their electricity meter stolen. You can't leave the house unattended. (Interview, June 6, 2001) Mrs. Kondowe also shared her concern over the price increases, and said that things had become serious. Where once the money coming into the household was fine, now it was difficult to live on, "but", she was apt to say, "we are surviving" (Interview, June 12, 2001). 69 Role of Husbands During interviews and meetings, the women did not provide a great amount of detail about their husbands, nor did I ask about their husbands specifically. However, a common theme when husbands were mentioned would be when women talked about the difficulties in the household, and who responds to them. Although it was expressed that the expectation was that men would work and contribute to the household monetarily, and indeed, this is what occurred in some of the households to a greater or lesser extent. Most of the women however, expressed that they carried a burden within their household to provide for their families. For example, in 1985, Mrs. Mukumbi's husband was injured and off work for months, so Mrs. Mukumbi cultivated and earned a living from her crochet work, and had become the 'breadwinner'. And she has continued to play that role even when her husband is working. As in other households, the income from men may not be sufficient, and does not necessarily go toward family needs but pleasures outside the household. This was the case with Mrs. Bushu too. Her husband was away often and spending money. She had to sustain herself and her kids by starting cross border trading trips because her husband was not providing assistance. Her husband remained unreliable in times of household need, leaving the family when Mrs. Bushu broke her leg shortly after becoming employed as a cook. In other cases, women recognise that the wages provided by male employment is insufficient to take care of the household, and therefore, women create ways to provide for the household, and ensure that the family is fed. In our first focus group meeting that included twenty women, several women expressed that they were farming to help their husbands, to supplement their small wages. As one women stated, "You've asked why we grow crops. We grow here because this is where we stay, where we live. We want to help our husbands. Many women's husbands don't work, so we grow to feed our kids". In Mrs. Kanondo's household, it is she who must now support the family as her husband only has a small pension, which his company had not even been providing. The reliance on her efforts is compounded given the deaths within her family. She explained that in Shona culture, when a relative passes away, the family looks to the brother-in-laws for 70 shouldering funeral and other expenses. If there is more than one brother, they can distribute the expenses, but there is only her husband and he has no employment. In Mrs. Benjamin's household, when her husband was alive (he passed away in 1999 or 2000), she told us that he would only give money for food and not much else. Mrs. Benjamin recounted in one interview that when she would suggest they do something to improve things around the home, her husband did not show an interest and would respond with "This is my house". There was not much she could do, she said, because she did not earn the money. Like Mrs. Nthwana told us (in a good-natured way, which made you wonder if she believed it) her husband was the 'boss'. Further, when information was compiled on how each family member contributed to the household, the women did not report that their husbands contributed in any way other than through financial resources. For those women whose husbands who had passed away (three women) or retired (two women), their pension was reported as their contribution. Most of the women ranked these financial resources as most important. In some cases, the financial resources of their husbands helped to extend their homes over time, pay for utilities, school fees and other bills, and will often pay for their farming inputs. For some women, money put to use for farming inputs increased its ranking in importance. Only one of the women's husbands helped with urban farming, and that was Mrs. Mukumbi who has a lot of land to cultivate. When I spoke with one of the other women's husbands and asked him if he goes to help his wife in the fields, he said he had never been to her fields!51 However, during the 2001 harvest, he made two trips to her field to help transport maize on his bicycle. Mrs. Kanondo also reported that her husband helped with the rural harvest in 2001, as she had to stay in the city to care for her sick mother. I could not say that these men did not contribute anything else, but if they did, the women did not report it as contributing to the household. It has been found in two other field studies on U A in Harare that women required their husband's blessing to cultivate (Mbiba 1995, Mudimu 1996). Mudimu (1996) found that there was a small percentage of women who were cultivating despite their husbands refusal to give his blessing. It is 71 acknowledged that while women may require their husbands' consent to cultivate, it is the women themselves who control the decision making on how the outputs are used. Whether the women in this research required the blessings of their husbands was not explored, or revealed. I also had the impression that there was a mixture of sentiments the women expressed toward the roles their husbands played in the household. Sometimes, depending on which women I spoke with, I was left feeling like the women were proud of their husbands and their contributions. I sensed they worked collaboratively with their husbands at times. While other times the women seemed to express some resignation that they were left on their own to take care of the family. When they spoke of the hardships they were under, I heard feelings of worry, concern, but rarely resentment toward their husbands. Nor did the women speak in negative terms about their own husbands to me, except when they revealed that husbands were not contributing to the household. I am not sure what the culturally appropriate ways within Shona culture and for these individual women are for discussing personal matters about family members and husbands, especially with strangers. While I was unable to further explore how the division of labour was negotiated between husbands and wives, it did seem that the seven women represented differing examples of how their families worked together, and how individuals within families took on responsibilities within the household. Role of Adult and Teenaged Children All of the women had at least one of their children still residing at home, and several who had children still attending school. They spoke of their children during interviews and meetings. Sometimes stories varied about how much or little the women felt their kids contributed. Mrs. Chingono had three adult children at home, as well as a son and his wife who lived at the residence. One son was employed at a jewellery shop and contributed money to the household monthly, and her married son paid for the electricity bill, while 5 1 Mbiba (1995) found in his research on UA in Harare that only in a few cases did husbands assist with their wives cultivation activities. During survey research, Mudimu (1996) found that 26% of the people they found working fields on open spaces were husbands working their wives plots. 72 her daughter was responsible for most of the household work. Mrs. Chingono was eager to see her unemployed daughter and youngest son take more courses so they could get work, but there was no money for them. During a discussion with Mrs. Chingono in one of her fields, we asked about her children's participation in cultivation. She told us that if she asks her one son, he would come with her to help, but he knew his mom could do all the work. During that same conversation, Mrs. Chingono reported that her kids do not help with the housework and that she does it all herself, except for the contribution of one of her daughters. Mrs. Kanondo had relied a great deal on her son who recently passed away. There were a few stacks of cement at the house, which she told us that this son had bought to help his parents extend the house by adding two rooms; one for a lodger and one for her daughter-in-law and kids. She had another son whose wife and kids also resided at home, but this son suffered from a liver problem and passed away after I left Zimbabwe. Mrs. Kanondo was already taking care of orphaned grandkids, and would now have these extra ones in her care. Her only remaining child lives in a rural area and works on other people's fields. He assisted his mom with her rural cultivation, which she said helped quite a bit. Mrs. Mukumbi is a serious entrepreneur who has managed to do relatively well on her own. Many of her adult children were still living at home, and as she told us in one interview that the major problems are with her kids. They do not have much success on their own, even at school, she told us, and only one of them had a job. She told us she continued to strain herself for them, and they can not take care of her so she can rest. Farming takes energy, she explained, and she could feel the pain in her muscles and wondered how long she could keep it up as age was taking a toll on her. One day while we were at her field, she said that most often she cultivated alone, and occasionally, her husband helps her. We asked if her kids helped. She responded that her kids were lazy and stayed at home. (However, they did help their mom during the 2000-20001 cultivation season, and I know her daughters work around the house). Mrs. Mukumbi said that when they were young, they came to help, but now they are embarrassed or shy to Mbiba (1995) found that 80% of women cultivators stated that they or their female elderly made decisions on the outputs of their cultivation activities. 73 come. She does not think her kids will take over her plots because they are not interested, even though she has acquired enough land to provide enough mealie meal for her large family for a year. In letters from 2003, she spoke of taking one of her sons on business trips to Mozambique, and in another letter from May of 2004, she wrote that her one daughter had now found work in Mozambique. She has some wonderful daughters who often helped their mom to organise our meetings, or attended them when Mrs. Mukumbi was away. She wanted to see her kids involved in self-help projects instead of waiting for their mom to help. As Mrs. Mukumbi wrote about her kids in one letter, "Us parents, we 're getting older and older. I want them to experience life before we die, not after we die " (Letter, June 2003). Mrs. Kondowe is also aware of the situation kids find themselves in today. She explained that " We have to take care of our kids, but they won't be able to take care of us". There was one young son and a school aged daughter still living at home in 2001. These two both helped with household work, such as washing, cooking, cleaning and sweeping. Mrs. Kondowe said their contributions help a lot because she works everyday. One of her step sons and his wife and child live in their own rooms on the stand but they remain independent from the household and do not pay rent and cook for themselves. Mrs. Kondowe gets financial support from three daughters, one who lives in the UK. Mrs. Benjamin had five young grandsons in her care in 2000. She said in one interview that "All I think about is working for my family" (Interview, October 8, 2000). At 60+, she was looking for work as a housemaid, and while she was aware that potential employers might look at her and think she was too old, she knew she could do the job well. She was looking for work with the City of Harare as a general worker too, and was requesting a friend to keep an eye out for jobs for her. All so she could get enough to eat for her family, and money for school fees, uniforms, pens and books so the grandchildren could attend school. She had one adult son living at the home and he was unemployed at the time. His wife who had recently left had been a help to Mrs. Benjamin by cooking and cleaning when she returned from her fields very tired. Her son also helped with sweeping and cleaning, and with weeding in 2000. The assistance from her other children, she said, was very little. 74 Mrs. Nthwana had only one child left at home who was also attending school. One of her grandchildren lived with them too as Mrs. Nthwana's daughter was employed. She said that her three oldest children help out with money for food from time to time. She said that they could not always help as they have their own families to take care of. Mrs. Nthwana explained that these days it is difficult to support another family, you have to take care of your own family, that things have become more individualistic. Mrs. Nthwana told us that she cultivated for her children, and that they all receive maize and veggies from her fields. They also employed a housemaid in their household who helped take care of the grandchild, as well as performed other domestic work. Her son also helped with sweeping, cleaning and cooking, and was quite helpful in her everyday work. A nephew was also staying with them but she told us that her nephew did not contribute to the household. Mrs. Bushu had one teenaged granddaughter in her care in 2001, and this young woman helped out with all of the household chores. In 2000, she also had her young son living with her, who had since gone to live with other members of the family to alleviate some of her burden. When her son was there, she explained it was not his responsibility to do household chores. As he was very young and unemployed, he was not contributing any support to the household. Mrs. Bushu worried a great deal that her granddaughter would acquire an education and had been receiving support from the Church to pay for her granddaughter's school fees. But as of 2001, they discontinued providing this help. Each of the women's households had to deal with the tragic outcomes of illness and death. Mrs. Mukumbi had nursed sick adult children, one of whom, her eldest daughter, passed away in 2003 after a prolonged illness. Mrs. Kanondo was responsible for caring for both her elderly mother, and her adult son who suffered from a kidney problem. In 2001, Mrs. Kanondo would take her son for regular check ups, although doctors were on strike at this time and he would not receive the attention he needed. They were required to pay expensive fees upon each visit. The family was optimistic that he would recover, but sadly, he passed away shortly afterwards. Mrs. Kanondo had already witnessed the death of two other sons, one at a very young age, the other more recently, as well as the death of her mother. At the time my research had just started with the women, Mrs. Benjamin's son had just passed away. We visited her home to offer our 75 condolences and learned that her husband and a daughter had also passed away within that same year. Mrs. Bushu also suffered losses in her family, and after 1986, the year her daughter (aged 17) passed away, "there was death, death, death. " It is interesting to note that in several households the young men will contribute to household domestic work if they are not employed. However, it is not the expectation in other households that men will do this work, and there was no recognition of husbands contributing to the household labour for work such as cooking, cleaning and washing. And in all households, female children, as is often anticipated, contribute to the domestic work. The work these women create for themselves plays an invaluable role to the well-being of their households. From the women's depictions of their roles in their households, they use their resources and outputs for food, school fees and provisions for family needs. Such findings are consistent with research undertaken in the region showing that inspite of women's more limited access and control over resources, women apply their incomes, no matter how small, for the benefit of other family members (Molokomme 1997). P A T T E R N S OF U R B A N L A N D A C C E S S A N D ACQUISITION The women described numerous ways, and interesting stories, on how they obtained their fields, thus creating a diverse landscape of relationships and land access strategies and patterns in entering open space cultivation. Two of the women who started farming in the 1960's were lodgers, and two were already occupying their newly acquired core housing after leaving lodging accommodations. Others began farming later on, either finding their own fields, or acquiring them from friends. Table 4.2 provides a summary of the major urban land acquisition patterns of each of the women. 76 Table 4.2 -Summary of Land Occupancy Patterns in the City Person/ # of fields Year of Homeownership Years Fields Were Acquired How the field was obtained Mrs. Benjamin 3 fields 1966 1966- one field 1996-two fields Found Found one, other From brother in law Mrs. Bushu 2 fields 1986 1961- more then one 1984-two fields Found- worked M o m ' s fields From friend Mrs . Chingono 2 fields 1980 1987- one field 1999- one field From daughter's mother-in law Found Mrs . Kanonodo 2 fields 1963 1962- more than one 1997- one field 2000- one field Found Lost these after leaving Harare for two years Found Friend Mrs . Kondowe 2 fields 1971 1990-one field 2000- one field From relative o f Husband From friend Mrs . Mukumbi 7 fields 1966 1966- more then seven Found all of them Mrs. Nthwana 3 fields 1964 1977-two fields From friends- has lost these and gained others from friends since M y field research identifies several categories of how women in Harare acquire land for SOSC. These categories are discussed below: Finder, Seeker or Pioneer Some women will say they just found their fields. They were in fact, pioneers, the first to claim an unused portion of land. These people are referred to as the 'owners', because this access accords them special rights to that land. For example, the 'owner' status permits them exclusive entitlement to that specific area unless they choose to give, lend or sell a field or a portion of a field. And this seems to be respected by subsequent female entrants. Generally, although not always, those who found fields represent the earlier entrants to urban farming, like Mrs. Mukumbi, Mrs. Kanondo, Mrs. Benjamin and Mrs. Bushu. To distinguish the women who were early pioneers and who claimed access to many fields from other owners, the women with many fields will be referred to as 77 'original owners'. Mrs. Bushu and Mrs. Kanondo lost their fields when they left the city for an extended period of time, and Mrs. Benjamin, although an early entrant to SOSC, only claimed one field in the 1960s. Mrs. Mukumbi is the only remaining 'original' owner in this group of seven women. Due to the growing popularity of SOSC since the 1960s, 'original' cultivators have gained an elevated status. One of the women referred to this group of women as'the Kings'. As noted already, it was easy to stake claim to open spaces in the 1960s because it was not yet commonly practised, nor was it deemed socially acceptable. However, even in the 1990s, some of the women were 'finding' fields. Mrs. Benjamin claimed a field in 1996 when she was walking by a patch of land that was not used. As she explained, "I just started. I pioneered. Others came afterwards- women from Budiriro, Highfields and Mukqfose" (Interview, June 7, 2001). All of the women have a field in the same open space located in an area very close to their homes. Mrs. Kanondo told me that "A few of them decided to make use of a patch not being used'' (Interview, June 7, 2001). I had wondered how the women under such situations would divide a field up. It seems to be a very open process as one woman described it. "You would go and start to cultivate today and can't finish. You come back and someone else has started, so you go in a different direction". I inquired further, "Are there any conflicts that arise during this process?" Mrs. Chingono responded; "Normally, where there is no cultivation, we tell one another where we planned to clear" (Interview, June 4, 2001). So, it seems one or a group of women will start, and then others with interest will join them, each clearing and negotiating the dimensions of her plot as they work together, and individually. What is very interesting is how the women have respected this process and how it demonstrates a co-operative way of just letting the division of fields unfold organically, even spontaneously. Fields are de-lineated without a prior vision and occur during the process of claiming the land. Many parcels are not squared off or composed of all right angles, but form quite interesting shapes, as one wpman had to start moving in a new direction because someone else had started close by. The diagram below is taken from Mbiba's (1995, 35) book on UA, and depicts a cultivated area with the boundaries of individual 5 3 All the land tenure categories discussed here are categories that have been applied by researchers. It would be interesting to inquire if and how practitioners and these women, distinguish between different 78 plots demarcated. Fields vary in sizes. Mudimu et al. (1998) estimated that the average size of such plots was .3 hectares. Figure 4.1 Tacheometric Survey (Mibaba 1995, 35) What is even more fascinating is that cultivators have respected the boundaries of some of these odd shaped parcels for over 50 years in some cases! Of all the times we discussed difficulties, challenges or problems faced undertaking urban farming, never did any of the women say these boundaries were being violated by other women. Women mentioned theft, loss of land through development, and that people might start to use your field if it looks abandoned, but it was not expressed privately or in groups that other women were encroaching on their fields. Given Without Charge As mentioned, some of the early entrants to urban farming acquired numerous plots of land to farm. Only one of the four originals in the group possessed larger tracts of types o f land tenure statuses. 79 land. From the accounts of women receiving land from other women, their plots were often given to them from one of these original farmers who had lots of land. Mrs. Kondowe received two fields from women with many fields. Her first field was obtained when Mrs. Kondowe went to ask a Malawian woman (a relative of her husbands who was Malawian) for land because she knew she was one of the 'originals' and had many fields. According to Mrs. Kondowe, this woman thought she was very lazy and did not know how to plough, but the next day she showed Mrs. Kondowe where to cultivate. A friend gave her second plot in 2000. She was a peer health promoter who told Mrs. Kondowe her plot was too small and that she felt pity for her. So, she gave Mrs. Kondowe one of her plots as she had likewise started cultivating a long time ago and had many fields. Mrs. Chingono received one of her plots from an original cultivator too, although her story is quite different. When Mrs. Chingono's husband passed away, she was forced to reside at her urban home, so she went out to look for a field. She went to a railway area where no cultivation was currently being done. She met a woman there who told her that she could not cultivate in that area because the railcars unload there, and then said "Let me show you where you can cultivate". Mrs. Chingono was led to one of the woman's fields where it was subdivided and a portion was given free to Mrs. Chingono. Not only was this woman an 'original' cultivator who "harvests 30 bags of maize a year from little patches", she later revealed that Mrs. Chingono's daughter was staying at her home and was expecting a child with her son. Although Mrs. Chingono did not know at the time she received the field, she actually received her land from her daughter's mother-in-law! Mrs. Chingono speculated that the woman knew who she was when they met and because this woman "had already taken her daughter", she gave the field to Mrs. Chingono for free (Interview, June 4, 2001). Mrs. Mukumbi spoke to me of why, as a woman who owns numerous fields, she has given fields away to other women. She said "Every time I harvested, people would come and ask me for maize and how they could get a piece of land... Due to increasing hardship and the turn in the economy, most people, town dwellers, they have been retrenched and do not have rural land. This is where they live. Mrs. Mazenda, she is a relative, a cousin, started asking me, and I gave her a plot. Some I gave to are not 80 relatives, they live in the neighbourhood and they understand each others circumstances" (Interview, September 12, 2001). Mrs. Mukumbi told me she has given enough away now. She must have given fields to at least four people, two were women from the group we worked with, and she has also lent fields to other women on numerous occasions. Mrs. Kanondo received a plot from Mrs. Mukumbi after our group started working together. Mrs. Bushu said that Mrs. Mukumbi gave her a plot in 1984 when she saw her sitting at home. Mrs. Mukumbi asked her if she would like to cultivate and they went together to the fields. Mrs. Mukumbi gave her one field in their neighbourhood, and another farther away. Mrs. Nthwana received her first plot in 1977 from a woman who was moving and had left Mrs. Nthwana her field. She says she did not even have to buy it, as it was given by a friend. She further explained "Even the one the church took, it was through the same friend. It is the way we get fields, it's among ourselves. You don't necessarily have to go and look. When we are together talking, they know each other's needs and will say 'I have three- you can have one''" (Interview, June 6, 2001). When I asked Mrs. Nthwana how they discuss, she replied "It could be on the road, we meet on the street and talk about things. Everyone knows one another. You can approach friends you know who have fields, during visits, through Church. Because we've known each other for a long time and we stay near each other, now it's like we, are related. It's no problem if you have visitors and you've run out of something- you can borrow tea leaves, salt" (Ibid.) Whenever a woman has been given a portion of someone's land in such manners described above, she then becomes the rightful 'owner' of that parcel of land. Borrow Seasonally All but Mrs. Mukumbi rely on obtaining fields through their networks on a seasonal basis as they do not have as much land as they would have liked, and, several women have lost fields they 'owned' to land development. This is where the social networking becomes quite important. Mrs. Nthwana was left in a situation where she had to borrow land on a seasonal basis since 1980. Friends have lent her a field every season, because as she said, "Friends know how it is when you have no field and you have kids" (Interview, June 6, 2001). She received two small fields in 2000, one from Mrs. 81 Mukumbi, and the other from another friend. Mrs. Kanonodo received a field from a friend of her daughter in law, but she could not continue cultivating that field because the women took it back. I asked her, "Are you going to look for land?" and she responded, "There is nothing I can do. We are always looking out, and asking and negotiating. A woman mentioned that her grandmother may not use her field next year" (Interview, June 7, 2001). So, these support networks are very important to women's access to urban fields. Additionally, when women must rely on borrowing land on a seasonal basis, they remain vulnerable to the requirements of the 'owner'. Such requirements include having to wait until someone decides if they are going to use the plot or not, which has happened to several women, resulting in delayed planting and poor yields. It is also not clear if some of these exchanges required the women to pay cash for using the land seasonally. I imagine this would depend on the individuals involved, the situation and the relationship between the women. Many women are constantly on the lookout for land because of their temporary user status, and the uncertainty and vulnerability it brings. Through Someone Else's Access One of the women in our group received a field from her husband's younger brother. This field was located on the school property were he worked. However, her brother-in-law had now retired and moved to Malawi. She explained that she had now lost part of her field and was being treated like an outsider by the other cultivators. Purchase One of the women mentioned she could have purchased a field, but this practice was never mentioned again by the other women. It is probably safe to assume that some people might require to be financially compensated for either the temporary use, or exchange of ownership of a plot of land. However, because of the reciprocity and good will exhibited by many of the women, sometimes money is not exchanged, perhaps because the women know they will receive some form of compensation or reciprocity at some other time. 82 Inheritance While the opportunity certainly exists, I did not hear about other family members, like sons or daughters, inheriting land. For example, Mrs. Mukumbi owns land, yet none of her kids have expressed interest in it. I never asked what Mrs. Mukumbi was going to do with her land if she moved, or what would happen to it when she becomes unable to cultivate. As some of these original cultivators are now in their 50s and 60s, there seems to be potential for urban land to be shared when they become too old to cultivate, or sadly, when they pass away. Customs and Etiquette Followed There are some unspoken customs and etiquette that these women abide by. A few are shared below. • Always ask first before taking. "You don 'i take, you ask first. You can not just take it if it looks unused because they could return next year. Better to have it given" Mrs. Nthwana said about obtaining urban fields (Interview, June 6, 2001). And the women seemed to abide by this custom using their networks to negotiate and secure fields first. • Return your plot to the rightful owner when they come to claim it. If you start working a plot of land that you believe is not being used, and then the owner comes to claim it, then you let them have their field, even if you have ploughed it. Mrs. Kondowe's example illustrates this: "You go to some area and it looks like there is no cultivation. You ask around, and then start: Then the owner comes to reclaim it" (Interview, June 12, 2001). She then would let that parcel of land go. I heard several examples that fit this custom. The women generally seemed to respect the rights of those who 'own' the land when that person comes to claim it. This also held true when the women were kicked off their land to make way for development, or even when a white farmer came by in his tractor, saying he purchased the land, and then proceeded to till the area some of the women were working. Mrs. Chingono went to one of her fields to plough and found that two young men who lived in the new housing close by had already planted it. She told them it was hers, continued cultivating, and she did not have any trouble with the young men after that. 83 • Use the land every year to ensure your rights to that field are continued. 'Owners' not only lend fields to help other women, they also lend fields to protect their own rights to the land. If a field is left uncultivated for a long period of time, it will get utilised by others, hence forfeiting that woman's rights to the land. This is what happened to Mrs. Kanondo's fields she secured in 1961. She left Harare for two years to become the custodian of land in her husband's rural area and when she returned, those fields were under new 'ownership'. Mrs. Mukumbi explained that she lent her fields to others during prolonged absences. • Give back land you borrow. Those who borrow land seasonally hold no entitlement to use the land the following year. The owner is entitled to use it herself, or lend it again, or lend it to someone else. It is the owner who controls who will use the land. None of the women I worked with presumed to have rights to own the land that they borrowed. •:• Wait for the owner 's decision when borrowing land. When negotiating to borrow land, the owner can take as long as they need to decide if they will use their plot that year or not. At least two of the women were left waiting to find out if they could start using a friend's field long after others had planted. As they indicated in discussions about their harvests, they felt their yields were lower due to late planting. It also puts stress on the dependent farmer who has to wait so long. There are probably many other customs associated with the land tenure system that demonstrates how women negotiate land and maintain their support networks. It would be interesting to know how women choose whom they give their plots to. Many of the fields of latecomers to urban farming have come from these 'original' owners who subdivided their fields to assist friends and family in need or want. These 'original' cultivators, like Mrs. Mukumbi and others like her with many fields, reap large harvests and are accorded a unique status. They possess control over many cultivated spaces, but the accommodation of so many newcomers points to the generosity of these 'original' owners, and rules of reciprocity within their social networks. Even women who do not have fields are integrated into the social networks of urban farming. For example, some of the women store their,harvest at one woman's home near their fields for safe keeping until they return with assistance to transport the maize to their 84 homes. In return, that woman will receive some of the harvested maize. Small amounts are shared with family members living outside the household and with neighbours. Clearly, those who 'own' land, particularly the 'original' owners, hold a great deal of power in the urban farming land tenure system. Yet, the power or status they now hold was not always the case, especially when those who were initially farming in the 50s and 60s were being laughed at, or badgered to go and cultivate in the rural areas. None of the women talked negatively about how they get land from one another, yet they were generally just dissatisfied that they did not have their own land. I would contend that the status of just being able to farm seems to come mostly from being a part of social networks like the ones these women have created. These loose and permeable networks appear to be composed of friends, acquaintances and relatives. In one focus group meeting (November 20, 2000) I raised the issue of lodgers' access and involvement in urban farming. It seemed like a topic no one wanted to discuss and it was dropped. One woman told me that "Lodgers don't want to cultivate " (Ibid.). If these relationships are maintained through acts of reciprocity, perhaps women are included and excluded based on their ability to reciprocate, their status or wealth, like home ownership. Class issues would likely play a role in how women form and maintain their social networks because networks that appear strong tend to include a high degree of reciprocity and common needs and interests. Comparisons With Rural Subsistence Farming It would be worthwhile to further explore the cultural significance, and in particular, the cultural applications of cultivation and land tenure practices between urban and rural subsistence farming. Although this group of women have a long history of urban residency, their ages and education (all of the women were educated in rural areas, and did not obtain high levels of education) might have contributed to the retention of rural practices and values which they have applied to their SOSC in the city. The way in which the women described how they pioneered open spaces together, or accepted the tenure system that evolved, seems to indicate that there must be some underlying shared values at work. A few ideas are advanced in this section, however, I must acknowledge that my comprehension of rural customs, land tenure and agriculture are minimal. 85 First and foremost, the identity and role of women as the food provider stems from the important role women played in rural areas (Mbiba 1995, Muchena 1994, Schmidt 1992). In rural areas, the custom was that the household would be provided with their own land, from which women would receive their own individual plot to engage in food production. Therefore, it is a common practice for women to have their individual plots to cultivate. For certain purposes, women and men came together, for example for work parties and ceremonies (Muchena 1994). Like other customs in urban farming, the custom of continuous cultivation might have been borrowed and adapted from rural customs. Schmidt (1992, 44) describes the division of labour and control of land at the 'eve of colonial conquest' and explains that despite women's centrality in agricultural production, most significant property was controlled by the male head o f household. Land, the most c r i t i c a l resource in an agrarian society, was assigned to a married man by his father, with the consent o f the c h i e f or v i l l a g e headman. A s long as the land was cultivated, the man retained the right to use it and to c l a i m whatever was produced from it. If, for any reason, a household's land lay f a l l o w , it reverted to the j u r i s d i c t i o n o f the c h i e f or headman who had or i g i n a l l y assigned it. A l t h o u g h it was the male head o f household who maintained rights to the land, it was the agricultural labour o f the household as a whole, p r i m a r i l y that o f women and children, that guaranteed continued access to it. This passage notes that one has to demonstrate that the land is being kept productive in order to retain the use of the land, just like in urban farming. What is even more interesting to consider in regards to SOSC, is the notion that women have adapted certain practices that were utilised in rural areas under male authority, and then created a new form of socially organising open spaces in their urban environments mostly between women. W O M E N O R G A N I S I N G - O R G A N I S I N G W O M E N The insights on how women obtain land reveals how the women have organised themselves and worked together through their social networks to create an urban land tenure system on lands they do not actually own. There is a preference for individual work, which also requires and incorporates working with other women. While individuals might differ in how they define 'organisation', it seems there is a distinctive pattern noted to the form of organisation women undertake in a wide range of their enterprises outside 86 the home. This field work and secondary sources suggest that women's forms of organisation have clashed with both pre and post independence decision makers and governance structures, who are charting put their own visions of what 'organisations' should look like. Where does the rejection of how women prefer to work come from? And why is it not regarded as a form of organisation? I do not have specific answers to this question. Secondary sources contain some possible ideas worth exploring. This section provides examples to demonstrate the patterns of organisation adopted by women. Further, examples to force women under various forms of government controls, or forms of 'organisation' are used to demonstrate how local and state authorities have tried to restrict and interfere with women's enterprises and mobility from before and after 1980. Urban Farming There is a definite preference shown by women to farm independently, and not within a formal definition of working co-operatively. This desire to farm on their own was explicit in how the women have developed their own land tenure system, and expressed in their preferences for how they would like land to be allocated. Moreover, most of the women who formed agricultural co-operatives have organised to gain access to the land. Once they have been allocated land, most will divide the land into individual plots and come together when necessary, for example for training. This practice is well cited in the literature (Martin et al. 2000, ENDA 1997), and by professionals I interviewed. The women I worked with envisioned accessing land as group, then dividing it up among themselves. Perhaps the most relevant example related to SOSC and government attempts to 'organise' women came in the early 1980s. In 1985, the then Ministry of Local Government and Town Planning sent out a circular encouraging urban authorities to promote income-generating projects through co-operatives, and it spoke directly to the need to 'organise' SOSC and women.54 The Prime Minister was quoted as saying, I have discussed with the Ministries of Local Government ... about the need for agricultural co-operatives near all our urban areas. This, we feel, will harness the unguided energies of our women, who till every available piece of land which is idle, including that which is near streams. These women should be properly 5 4 1 would like to thank the two co-operative officers I met with who shared this circular with me. 87 organised by you into co-operatives so that every morning they leave the urban centres to go to their vegetable or maize fields. (GRZ 1985, 1) Male urban authorities, both pre and post-independence, have shown a preoccupation to control urban women, and this circular demonstrates that fact poignantly with regard to UA. The tone and sentiment of this passage ring familiar. As noted when market gardens for women by the BSAC were proposed, these were considered by colonial authorities as a "legitimate means of occupying their spare time, instead of spending it in a less wholesome manner" (Jeater 1993, 169). Participation in the co-operative movement in urban areas became the only mechanism through which women could legally acquire land and resources for their farming activities. However, most women did not form co-operatives. And women during the 1930s chose not to form market gardens. In her research on the marginalisation of women's productive labour by government efforts to promote co-operatives, Sylvester (2000) documents the shifting placement of the responsibility for the promotion of co-operatives and the promotion of women, reinforcing strong associations between women, informal employment, and co-operatives. Sylvester documents the simultaneous influence of authoritarianism and liberalism in various policies pursued between 1980 and the early 1990s. After independence in 1980, the government pursued a Marxist-Leninist path and promoted co-operative production. Women's participation in the struggle for independence had earned them dubious inclusion in the government's employment strategies, namely, designs to organise women into co-operatives for the benefit of society and the well-being of the family. However, government enthusiasm and commitment to co-operatives declined quickly and many women's co-operatives were pushed into the 'informal' sector and/or just disappeared (ibid.). In July 2000, co-operatives had been placed under the jurisdiction of the newly created Ministry of Youth, Development, Gender and Employment Creation, located within party headquarters. In 2001, the government was still promoting co-operatives. The women I worked with had been approached by women staff from the government, saying that money was available for women who organised into co-operatives, but the government never followed up, creating more unfulfilled promises. 88 During the years of drought in the early 1990s the City of Harare launched a campaign against SOSC, and even slashed mature maize crops. Women cultivators mobilised resistance to these attacks charging the local authority with upholding colonial and male attitudes of what are appropriate uses of urban land (Mudimu, Siziba and Hanyani-Mlambo 1998). Women have verbally expressed their opposition to repressive measures to control SOSC, and they have used their continuous ploughing of fields, regardless of the political climate of the day, to demonstrate their entitlement to urban land. While local (see chapter six and seven for more details) and national governments continue to express the need for cultivators to 'organise', there has been no acknowledgement made to get input from actual women cultivators on the best way to get 'organised'. Further, from the perspectives of women cultivators who have witnessed the diversity of responses from local and national governments to support urban farming (most of which have been repressive), there has not been consistency, clarity or adequate information dissemination for women to have any confidence in government led initiatives. Using Social Networks to Organise Income Generating Projects During the two months before my departure from Zimbabwe in 2001, I worked with the women to develop and implement income-generating projects. As we did not find any support available for their SOSC, the women chose to focus on different initiatives. We held focus group meetings to discuss project ideas, and seven individual visioning interviews were conducted with each of the women. While the details are very interesting and relevant, only a summary of their final decisions and actions will be shared. Six of the seven women preferred to initiate their own individual projects, but as a group they wanted to provide support to one another, and to open up a collective bank account to allow them to do group savings. One of the women wanted to do a collective group project but faced resistance, and seemed willing enough to go along with the majority. Reaching agreement on this outcome was not straightforward, especially since it appeared we were entering what those in small group communications refer to as the group-storming phase. A group who self identified themselves as 'the gang', had now 89 begun questioning whether they could succeed as a group. In particular, women were concerned about how people were communicating within group discussions. While we tried to address this by discussing expectations they had about communication, unfortunately, we were unable to get support for further organisational needs. Working in groups always creates some challenges. Four women wanted to raise chickens in their backyards55 and three wanted to sell second hand clothes. But it was no easy task to reach consensus, and this was not because the women could not agree upon what they wanted. When interviewed individually, each woman indicated they wanted to do a group project. Most of the women also stated that they wanted to use the resources gained from the group project for their own individual projects. Later, when we met as a group to discuss all the various options raised in the individual interviews, there was resistance to the acceptance of doing a group project. Finally it came out that what they really desired was to do individual projects, and as a group, they would establish a shared savings account, and come together for support in other areas, like training and advice etc. There was a strong impression given that the women have been told so often, that they would only get resources if they came together as a group, and they doubted their abilities to gain support if they worked independently. However, as the funds came from non-institutional sources (i.e. from my family and friends in Canada) and no conditions were placed on its use, the women were free to undertake their own projects. As none of the organisations contacted in Harare seemed to have money available for urban women, or people were so busy that they had no time to meet with me, money from family and friends in Canada was used as a last resort to start the projects. Other funding agencies (even government ones) required the women to fill out lengthy and detailed business plans all written in English even for small loans. The chicken group got together and went to Mbare to purchase all the chicken feed they needed for their first batch of chicks. Also, the women were put in touch with a woman's organisation that said they could provide them with advice on group banking. Interestingly, the women said that this organisation instructed them to be engaged in the same project to access this service. So the clothes group then abandoned that effort and obtained chickens. This 5 5 City by-laws permit 20 chickens per acre in high-density suburbs. 90 really bothered one of the women in particular. And this outcome also seemed to validate what the women anticipated- they would not get money and support if they each did their own thing, even from a woman's organisation. Although the start up capital came from independent sources, the women were still unable to choose their own project. As discussed earlier, the women who organised cross border grading trips to South Africa and Botswana showed a clear desire to sell independently, but come together as a group to organise transportation and housing needs. Horn's (1997, 1994) research on women fresh produce traders and vendors in Harare also shows women's preference for operating independently. There is also a level of support extended to one another, for example, women might jointly arrange the transport of their produce, or will look after another women's stall when a woman needs to leave. In addition, a large number of women formed revolving credit/savings societies, or in some cases joined a burial society to support members when their spouses pass away. Interestingly, the vending of fresh produce began when women came to Harare and needed to find a way to provide food for their families. These urban women began ordering produce from women horticulturists in the areas outlying Harare, and then reselling the produce within their own neighbourhoods. As Horn (1994, 43) describes, the model of self-sufficiency women developed is grounded in "individual innovation, the ethic of work, the ability to take risks, and a sense of personal pride- all characterising women's informal market behaviour- are cornerstones of development". What World Bank, IMF and other donor agencies have misunderstood, according to Horn, is that the emphasis should be placed on supporting individuals through education and policy changes, not just narrowly focusing on increasing incomes. , Reflections All of the above initiatives show a great deal of ingenuity, motivation and as Horn says, risk. Everyday life in urban Harare has not been made easy for women, even after Independence. These everyday ways women create to survive and provide are in themselves acts of resistance. Abraham (1999, 5) poignantly states "we must recognise that the forms of everyday resistance which Black women have been living with have been so consistent and culturally sustaining that trying to tease them out from the 91 complications of real life can be as difficult as finding the one thread that begins a intricate crocheted pattern". Joy Chadya5 6 has undertaken extensive archival research on women in Harare in 2004 and uncovered some interesting findings and interpretations of women's SOSC. Urban agriculture in Harare is as old as the city itself. But because of stringent urban by-laws, it was almost negligible up to the '60s. But with the rise of nationalism and the beginning of the war, urban farmers - gendered female -began to apply a concept of madiro (Africans deliberately not respecting colonial laws) - running concurrently with its implementation in the rural areas - and urban farming reached unprecedented heights. This passage not only attests to the forms of resistance women may have used, but that women also aligned themselves with African men in their resistance to colonial occupation. There is no straightforward narrative to encapsulate the complexity of how resistance is expressed, and to who and what it is specifically targeted. Women's enterprises often required a high degree of mobility and assertiveness. On a daily basis, urban women etched out creative employment strategies for themselves and food production activities outside the home. C L O S I N G One of the first observations made by the two research assistants who helped me initiate this research with the women from Highfields was that these women were 'organised'. Mbiba's (1995, 115) writing on UA integrates photos of women who cultivate open spaces to explore the conditions of women who "vividly portray the struggle of women to do something of their own, to survive, to keep going, to keep family and society surviving!" Women's roles as food providers, in rural and urban areas has somehow been left unacknowledged (Muchena 1994). They not only struggle under impossible economic conditions, but must continue to counter, resist and endure gender, class, age and race discriminations that place so little worth on women's contributions and individual identities. It is always interesting to contemplate what creates differences in people's worldviews. Whereas those of us who worked closely with women who This passage was taken from an email exchange between myself and Joy Chadya on July 8, 2004. 92 cultivate open spaces could see their abilities to 'organise', many writers on UA, local decision makers and professionals just see disorganisation and disorder. What is gathered from these women's lives, demonstrates how their contributions have helped to maintain stability in their households, whether by providing support to children and husbands in times of adversity, illness and death, by understanding needs of their families that husbands were not attentive to, and/or through their economic contributions from their independent enterprises, such as farming and petty trading. These women, to varying degrees, and through different pursuits, embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. Utilising their individual resources,, with their varied networks of friends from church groups, their neighbourhoods and clubs, these women made things happen to improve (with varying levels of achievements) the conditions under which they and their families live. Although many readings of colonial Zimbabwean history, and/or cultural interpretations of Zimbabwean women's lives may not reveal the level of mobility some women acquired, the livelihoods of these women certainly attest to the flexibility and assertiveness they possess to provide for their families, and that this required them to work outside the household, and even outside municipal and national borders. When infrastructural services were not made available, the women organised transport to go to South Africa. When women had no land to cultivate, they occupied open spaces to produce food. As a planner, I can envision how the diverse pursuits of these women have contributed to the stability of the social fabric of neighbourhoods that have lived, and continue to endure neglect, race and class injustices, lack of responsive governance structures and accountable representation, and lack of local employment opportunities. I envision that planners see the importance of such social institutions in these neighbourhoods as pathways to teaching them how to better understand their needs, their ways of doing things, and in turn, how planning tools and processes can be created and moulded to build on these strengths, instead of ignoring them. There are a diversity of needs and people. As this chapter illustrates, ageing women are straining themselves to provide for their children, husbands and grandchildren. The serious lack of opportunities for young people, the hardships experienced within single parent households (often where the father is absent), the high death rates among the youth demographic, and the inability 9 3 youth experience to care for even their own families, let alone their parents, are the major reasons why this group of women continue to work so hard in their ageing years. By supporting youth, we can help alleviate some burden on the ageing, by supporting the ageing, we can ensure they are cared for in culturally appropriate ways, and we can open up spaces for their knowledge and experience to permeate and influence the way planning is done, and to allow their marks on urban history to be recognised and respected by all age groups, men and women. Women have had a long presence in the city, contributing in unique ways to the physical and social formation of Harare. These contributions should not be trivialised or ignored, but integrated into 'professional' work in ways deemed appropriate and respectful by those who are closest to that reality. 94 CHAPTER V Women's Harvests, Technical Constraints And Requirements in Urban Farming INTRODUCTION The process of undertaking urban cultivation entails many activities, and involves many details. There are steps in organising and purchasing inputs, land preparation, . planting, weeding, applying fertiliser and top dressing, harvesting, drying the maize, shelling the kernels from the cobs, and processing kernels into maize meal at local hammermills. There are also the networking and time involved in obtaining a field, in some cases from year to year, as already discussed in chapter four. This chapter provides detailed information on the specific activities of urban farming by the seven older women from Highfield. During post-harvest interviews with each of the women, as well as during several focus group meetings, the women shared their needs as urban farmers, and the details of their 2000- 2001 growing season. PRODUCTION INPUTS & OUTPUTS Time Investments The urban farming activities of the women require considerable investment in time and energy. From August/ September, until Apr i l/ May, the women are engaged in some aspects of urban farming, which are incorporated into their other responsibilities and work. There are tasks in the fields requiring the preparation of land, planting, weeding, fertilising, and harvesting. The amount of time spent by each of the women depends upon numerous factors, including the number of fields they have, the size of the field, the amount of additional labour the women have to help them, availability of labour saving technology, and the distance of the fields to their homes. The norm was that the women would walk to their fields, which generally could take thirty minutes to one hour each way, depending upon their strength and what they were carrying with them. Each of the women had a field just a short distance from their homes too. Land preparation and planting could take as few as five full days, to over one month depending on how they 95 organised their work. For example, Mrs. Nthwana worked three days, taking two days rest and completed clearing and preparing the land in a month with hired help. Then the fields had to be weeded and fertilised. Like land preparation, these tasks were organised differently by each woman. Interspersed between these stages of work in the fields, the women had to organise the purchase of their inputs. They had to acquire money, and take time to go to the shops to purchase inputs, which might require many trips as some inputs were purchased in small quantities (by the scoop) as some women could not afford the price of purchasing bags. Their maize fields were harvested for both green mealies (the name given to maize eaten fresh off the cob) and were harvested for maize to dry and grind into mealie meal (which is boiled to make their staple food sadza). Some women focused more on harvesting green mealies, like Mrs. Kanondo and Mrs. Chingono. Mrs. Chingono told us that she harvested lots of green mealies, as she liked them more than dried maize. "Anytime you think of eating a green mealie, you eat if, she told us. Mrs. Mukumbi harvested one big basket per week of green mealies, while Mrs. Kondowe would go every two to three days. Time dedicated to harvesting depended upon how many trips they took to get green mealies, the number of days needed to harvest the rest of the maize to grind into mealie meal, the amount of assistance they received, and how the maize was transported. Some women hired pushcarts to transport their maize to their homes, while others travelled on foot, or a combination of methods. The maize also had to be dried and shelled so it could be taken to the mill for processing. The specifics of time allocations for all these steps were not taken; however, it would be worthwhile to document, as there are ways to assist the women to reduce their number of trips and travelling times. Exploring such opportunities would help reduce money spent, as well as freeing up time for other activities. There can be many hidden details, which were discovered once I started to inquire into their farming work, which resulted in certain information not being uncovered. I developed a set of tables, found in Appendix 4, which might prove useful to others who want to undertake documenting urban cultivation from beginning to end. The tables help to elicit very detailed information that will help to reveal more accurately the descriptions of whose labour is involved, time invested, and the resources dedicated to UA. 96 Production Costs and Harvest Outcomes From post-harvest interviews conducted with the women, findings suggest that the outputs from their urban cultivation in 2000-2001 were marginal in some cases, especially when the significant costs of theft and inputs, particularly fertilisers and seeds, are factored in. But this was not the case for all of the women. Table 5.1 provides a summary of the estimates given by the women for their 2000/01 growing season (estimates for quantities produced refer to maize only). These numbers are based on the best estimates each woman could give, as the women do not keep records of their expenditures. As well, the dollar values attributed to the amounts of maize are based on several assumptions. First, the women often referred to buckets harvested not actual kilograms; therefore, given information from the women, one bucket was estimated at 20 kg 1. Second, the value of mealie meal was calculated using the current retail price (as of June 2001) of 185 dollars, for a 10-kg bag of mealie meal if purchased at a grocery store. Third, an important part of the harvest is the green mealies. The value of green mealies was estimated from information that one bucket of these mealie cobs would produce one bucket of mealie meal. A more conservative figure was based on the assumption that one bucket of green mealies would give a three-quarter bucket of mealie meal. Lastly, a dollar value was not given for the labour each of the women and their family members invested, so their labour has not been factored into the costs of their farming. 1 Mbiba (1995) indicates that a bucket is a standard measure of whole grain maize in urban areas and generally contains 16-18 kg of whole grain maize when full. I used the figures given by the women, and generally, they stated the number or weight of the buckets of mealie meal i.e. after processing, not whole grain. 9 7 Table 5.1 Estimates from Seven Farmers for the 2000- 2001 Growing Season Individual Farmer Estimated Total Quantity Produced (kg) & Dollar Value (Zim)* Estimated Total Quantity from Theft, Spoilage and Sharing (kg) & Dollar Value (Zim) Estimated Total Cost of Farming (in Zim $) Farmer 1 (7 fields) ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 1 800 kg $33 300 450 kg (shared, theft and spoilage) $8 325 $13 900 (food given to hired labour and cost of preservative not included) iFarmer 2 (2 Fields) ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ | ? 165 kg $3 076 50 kg (just shared- not able to estimate amount stolen) $694 $714.50 Farmer 3 * (2 fields) 80 kg $1 388 25 kg (shared and stolen) $208 $890 (plus blanket and clothes in return for labour) Farmer 4 (three Fields) 120 kg $2 035 80 kg (just stolen - but not able to estimate amount shared) $1 110 $1 737 Farmer 5 ; (3 Fields) 1 113 kg $1 908 No estimate - uncertain to how much shared, very little theft) $4 475 Farmer 6 (2 Fields) Uncertain- just harvested green mealies that lasted only one week Uncertain $434 • Farmer 7 (2 Fields) 195 kg $3 030 20 kg (stolen only- not able to estimate amount shared) $463 $780 (cost of grinding not included) *Total quantity produced includes amounts that the women estimated that they shared, was stolen, or was spoiled. The dollar values reflect the cost that the amount harvested for maize meal and green mealies combined would have cost them if they had purchased the same amount from the shops. Table 5.1 reveals the considerable difference in the amounts harvested between the farmers. Farmer 1 and Farmer 5 are 'original' farmers, yet there is very little that is similar about the data from their farming activities. In comparison to studies with large sample sizes, the amounts harvested by these women are comparable to the findings of ENDA where harvests were found to last households between 2.2 months (in 1994) and 3.5 months (in 1996) (ENDA 1997, 73). Mudimu's (1996, 191) results found that households produced enough maize for an average of four to six months. Some interesting information on other benefits can be further derived from Table 5.1, and this is provided in Table 5.2 below. The first column gives a possible picture of the actual estimated financial benefit of SOSC to each woman. The lower the percentage, the less money was spent by that household in relation to the dollar value of the maize 98 produced for household consumption. Here we see quite a range in the overall monetary benefits or losses (losses are indicated by percentages over 100%) incurred by households. What is particularly distressing is that the households with seemingly less resources (particularly the two that were experiencing hunger) were the households who actually spent more money producing maize than if they had purchased the same amounts in the shops. However, caution needs to be applied in giving these values too much authority, because only estimates were received from the women, and further, some expenses are not even accounted for. Additionally, I am not sure how reliable some of these estimates were, especially when I calculated and compared the varying amounts each women estimated they used and spent on their farming. I saw a fair amount of discrepancy between amounts of seed and fertiliser used, and costs associated with them between the women (this is particularly noted for Farmer Five). Appendix 5 provides these further breakdowns. Table 5.2 Information on Specific Production Costs and Details of the Women's Farming Practices Farmers Expenses to % of costs % of costs Cost to Help (hired or Produce Maize dedicated to dedicated to Produce 1 kg otherwise) with as a % of purchasing hiring labour of Maize** land preparation Retail Value of fertilisers only and planting Maize Grown For Household jMrs.'Mukumbi ' (harvest lasted ^ whole year) 66% 29% 31% $7.72/kg Yes j^ Mrs. Kondowe 46% 48% 28% + direct $4.33/kg Yes (((harvest lasted 8 , ftweeks) exchange . Mrs Bushu 138% 49% Direct $ll/kg** Yes I (harvest lasted - eight weeks) exchange only ^Mrs. Ntw U M 85%* 30% 37% $14.38/kg Yes 6(harvest lasted 3 • months) jMrs. Benjamin j : (harvest .lasted ~8 1 weeks) 235%* 67% 0% $39.95/kg Yes Mrs. Kanondo "1 Uncertain 38% 0% uncertain No * (harvest lasted 1 , F week) iMrs. Chingono r (harvest lasted 2 26%* 59% 32% $4.05/kg No months) 99 a Expenses= amount of money invested in inputs and production, such as seeds, paid labour, fertilisers, repairs to tools, and milling. I have included as an expense, the amount of maize that was shared with others and the amount spoiled. Costs of transportation and time for non-paid labour are not included, b The amount produced for household was calculated for the quantity of maize available for the household to utilise (i.e. after spoilage and maize was given away), valued at the price it would have cost them to purchase the same amount in the supermarket. * The amount that this woman shared is not included as an input. Ratios would be somewhat higher if these were included. ** This figure should be higher because this woman bartered for hired clothes but no value was given to this expense. It is also interesting to notice the range of costs estimated to produce one kilogram of maize. The values provided are quite contrasting. Mrs. Chingono spends the least to produce a kilogram of maize, generally because she does all the land preparation and planting herself, and does not apply as much fertiliser as the other women, so her overall costs are kept quite low. It is interesting to note that while Mrs. Bushu produced maize at a financial loss to her household ($ll/kg), the value to produce one kilogram of maize is less than reported for Mrs. Nthwana at $14.38/kg. It should be noted that some expenses of Mrs. Bushu's farming are not calculated into the estimates (because she traded clothes and blankets for labour which were not given a dollar value), so the value to produce one kilogram of maize is actually greater than reported here. Table 5.2 also shows the cost of fertiliser use and hired labour. For most of the women, the greatest costs they incur stem from their need to hire labour, and to purchase fertiliser. The amounts of money dedicated to both these expenditures as a percentage of overall costs to their farming range between 38% and 91%. Each of the women seems to have a unique arrangement in managing their expenditures, which might represent the different circumstances or variables that each woman must account for in order to produce food for their families. For example, the soil conditions on site, the amount of maize women choose to give away or share, knowledge of appropriate amounts of fertiliser to apply, the willingness/availability of family members to assist with land preparation, level of accuracy of the information they provided, all influence the reliability of these numbers. 100 Seeds & Quality of the Harvest Between the women, several types of seed varieties were mentioned. Mrs. Bushu used R52. She had a very good harvest in 2000, and noted that the cobs were big, the seed large, and that there were two cobs per stalk. The good rains, she said, made the maize even shiny in appearance. Mrs. Benjamin used a different seed variety then she normally does. She used 401, when she usually uses 501. She said her yield was larger but the cobs were too small. Like Mrs. Benjamin, Mrs. Chingono said she did not get the good seed variety either because it was hard to find. She usually plants R52 or R201, but instead bought the cheaper quality seed, the Kangaroo.2 Mrs. Chingono was not pleased with the quality of this variety (Kangaroo), saying that the maize seed and cob size was smaller. However, she explained "the taste was not a problem- it was very nice- kids thought it was cooked with sugar it was so sweet". Mrs. Mukumbi used both 501 and 503 seed varieties, and indicated that the quality was good, that the cob seeds were large. Mrs. Nthwana also said she produced good quality maize, and this is why she thinks it was attractive to theft. The women seemed to measure the quality of the maize by the size of the cob seed, and/or the size of the cob; the larger, the better the quality. All of the women, except for Mrs. Mukumbi who has a lot more fields, planted less than 10kg of seeds, most planting less than 5kg. As most of the women lament, they have small fields, and some would make jokes about their small fields. Mrs. Nthwana, laughing as she told us, had purchased a 2kg bag of seed and still had seed left over, so she was looking for another field to use it up. Mrs. Kondowe told us she planted one field with the previous year's seed, and was buying more seed in case mice came and picked up the seed. She said she had to replant one of her fields three times! During our very first meeting with the women, when there was a group of twenty assembled, many of the women expressed concern that they were using the appropriate types of seeds suitable to conditions in the city. This concern was expressed again by the group of seven women when they assessed their needs as farmers in a focus group meeting (see section below on identifying needs for open space cultivation). 21 noticed that many of the bags of seed had different animals on them, so products are probably known by both a number and an animal. 101 The women also planted vegetables at their urban fields too. The women planted a range of other crops, the most popular after maize were; pumpkin, sweet potatoes and beans. Some have also grown cowpeas, roundnuts, casava, rice, sugarcane and okra. Most of the women experienced a great deal of theft of these additional crops, some being left with very little to harvest. Like the maize, some women felt they needed to harvest before vegetables were fully ripened because if they waited until their next visit, those vegetables would be gone. I did not hear about any seed saving practices, and as far as I am aware, the seeds they used are all hybrid varieties, and generally, hybrids are pretty much what the market has to offer. Mbiba (1995) and Mudimu et al. (1998) documented the practice of using seed from the previous year's harvest. Don Gaylard, a U A Stakeholder participant from the NGO Compassion Ministries, expressed his concern over the use of hybrid seeds (Meeting, June 18, 2001). He said that due to the difficult economic situation in Zimbabwe, people were using seeds from the previous year's harvest, and this was seriously decreasing their yields. As Mr. Gaylard explained, hybrid seeds are not produced for the purposes of seed storage and that this practice was making a bad situation worse. This raises an interesting question for Zimbabwe, and for urban farmers: What accessible alternatives do people have to using hybrids? The women I was working with could not even afford these hybrid varieties. Further, because their finances only allowed them to purchase small amounts, they were purchasing inputs like seeds by the scoop, which meant they were paying a lot more. And they were aware of this, but had no alternatives. However, there are organisations involved in seed saving, and possess indigenous varieties of maize and other vegetables, these are just not well known sources, and further, they do not develop any marketing strategy to increase awareness or to package seeds for the urban market. Fertiliser & Pesticide Usage Generally, fertilisers accounted for the greatest proportion of the costs of farming. The poorest women of the group were also dedicating a larger portion of their actual financial resources to purchasing fertilisers, when their ability to pay with cash was most constrained. There is variation in how and when the women apply fertilisers. Six of the 102 seven women used two types of fertiliser; compound D and top dressing, while Mrs. Chingono just uses top dressing. She told us that she applies it only once, "after it grows up and has kids" (Focus Group Meeting, November 20th, 2000). Mrs. Kanonondo told us that at one site she mixed compound D with top dressing and applied it, while at the other field, she just used compound D. Mrs. Mukumbi used a different method. She applied compound D when the maize is less than one foot high, then she monitors the growth and will add top dressing (ammonium nitrate) when the plants are just about to flower. Mrs. Nthwana will apply compound D when the seeds are about to germinate. Generally, it seems the women applied compound D in the early stages, then applied top dressing later on. The use of chemical fertilisers appears standard practice with urban cultivators, as well documented in other research (Mudimu et al. 1998, Gumbo 2000, ENDA 1997), with few observations of organic fertiliser usage (ENDA 1997). As already mentioned, inputs like seeds and fertilisers are often purchased in small quantities because the women do not have enough money to purchase one large bag at a time. Mrs. Nthwana said she went to the hardware store over fifteen times to purchase fertiliser by the scoop, and she said she knew if she had bought a 20kg bag it would have been cheaper. None of the women use pesticides. Shepherd Siziba (who I was fortunate to have assisted me as a research assistant for some of my fieldwork) conducted his master's research on pesticide use in U A in Harare. He found that the majority of farmers were using small amounts of pesticides or none at all. Siziba's conclusions contrast the observations of Irene Rusike, the Urban Extension worker for Agritex (a government department within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement) in Harare who told me that most urban farmers use fertilisers and pesticides (Interview, September 4, 2000). It is interesting too, to speculate what influence the technical advice given by Rusike might have on the choices of urban farmers to use pesticides or not. In field notes from a visit I took with Rusike to visit an urban farming co-operative on September 4, 2000,1 recorded the following: Irene told me that on Friday when she met with the women, they discussed input requirements. The women felt that they needed more fertiliser than insecticides. Irene said she had to tell them why insecticides were more important and why they needed just as much of it as well as fertiliser. 103 Agritex works closely with industrial agriculture companies and agro-chemical industries. For example, we were visiting this co-operative because Agritex had organised a workshop, to be provided by Agricura (an agro-chemical company), for co-operative members to learn how to safely apply pesticides. I will be clear that my bias is to support organic agricultural practices. I became increasingly aware of just how interested some companies, like Monsanto, have become in urban agriculture. The Monsanto representative for Harare was very open to supporting urban farmers with Monsanto seeds and technologies, as he believed it was an effective way to create a market for their products in the rural areas. As further demonstrated by the words of Zunde Makhuza, the director of a local urban agriculture group, "Seeds and chemical supply companies have taken advantage of these demonstration plots to sponsor inputs and to market their latest technology to the urbanites who are the most influential to the country's 75% rural population. Of most benefit to our members is herbicidal technology that is making our conservation tillage programme a success story." (Makhuza 2001, 2). Miguel Altieri (1998) acknowledges the barriers that large transnational corporations, such as Monsanto, create to the successful implementation of ecological alternatives to the methods of industrial agriculture. He writes (ibid.), Most TNCs have taken advantage of existing policies that promote the enhanced participation of the private sector in technology development and delivery, putting themselves in a powerful position to scale up promotion and marketing of pesticides. Given such a scenario, it is clear that the future of agriculture will be determined by power relations, and there is no reason why farmers and the public in general, if sufficiently empowered, could not influence the direction of agriculture toward goals of sustainability. Another concern is that adding pesticides, along with fertilisers, on the shopping list of poorer farmers, does little to address the difficulties that women already face in just obtaining seeds and fertilisers. By just offering one type of method to nourish the soil (i.e. the purchase of industrial fertilisers), the options for farmers to use indigenous and/or organic methods become severely limited. In very recent events, the Chairman of Kenya's Small Scale Farmers Forum announced its rejection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) crops. "It is not that farmers are against new technologies, so long as these technologies will not force and destroy our indigenous seed varieties, will not change our native farming systems knowledge and will 104 not render us helpless and at the mercy of the Trans National Companies to monopolise even on what we eat" (Kenyan Times 2004). During an outing taken in September 2000 to visit areas under cultivation in Harare, we found a plot where maize and beans were being grown together, a popular method to replace nitrogen taken from the soil from maize cultivation. We were told it was being cultivated by an elderly man who was sharing his organic methods with other farmers in the area. There are also organisations within Zimbabwe that are promoting indigenous knowledge in seed selection, species diversity, organic and permaculture practices into their training services, such as Fambidzania Training Centre and PELUM. Other U A literature identified a women's organisation in Zimbabwe who conducted research on the utilization of indigenous knowledge in urban poultry farming, and has disseminated this information in local languages for public use (Hasna 1998). Milling The shopping centre nearest to their homes has a mill for grinding maize. These are known as hammermills, and have provided an important service to urban farmers. Just like the sale of inputs, like seeds and fertiliser, hammermills are another example of how U A has created economic opportunities at the neighbourhood level. Mbiba (1995) provides an excellent chapter that explains the growing rise of hammermills within the city. While undoubtedly milling maize is considerably less labour intensive than pounding maize by hand, someone still has to invest time to get it milled Mbiba (ibid.) documented in his research that the average time spent travelling to and from a mill was approximately 45- 60 minutes, and time spent waiting in the queue was 45 minutes. Most of the women seemed to prefer the refined maize meal, which requires the maize to be run through two processes, instead of one. Mrs. Benjamin told us that the sieve used has smaller holes and that most like this process because it is whiter and finer, as the other way is too course. She compared the coarse meal to chicken feed. Mrs. Bushu referred to the refined maize as polenta brand. She says it is easier on her stomach. One of the women said she opted for the straight run (only goes through one process), as it is the cheapest. 105 H I R E D A N D F A M I L Y L A B O U R All of the women are active in every stage of UA, including the most demanding tasks of clearing and preparing the land, as well as weeding. Table 5.3 below shows the additional labour the women acquired to produce their crops. Boxes that are blank indicate that a woman did that activity herself without help. In only one case did children or husbands assist the women in land preparation. This was Mrs. Mukumbi, the 'original' farmer with many fields. She also relied on hired labour. Mrs. Kondowe had the assistance of her Aunt, and her Aunt's kids, who in exchange for work, received some of the maize once it was harvested. Mrs. Nthwana employs a domestic helper in her home who also helps with some of the cultivation tasks, and she also hires labour to assist with land preparation. One of Mrs. Nthwana's recruitment strategies to get assistance with the timely process of shelling the kernels from the maize was to give four small kids from the neighbourhood each a freezie. They did it to amuse themselves but after that wore off, which did not take too long, they enjoyed their freezies. Her husband assisted on two occasions by transporting some maize on his bike, while Mrs. Nthwana carried a big bag on her head. Mrs. Chingono hired a young boy to help her finish off her weeding. She said he was working to raise money for his school fees. Mrs. Kanondo did all the work herself. In total, four of the women utilise the contract labour of men who work where their fields are located. Mudimu (1996) and Mbiba's (1995) findings reveal the use of male contract labour hired by female cultivators. It is noted by Mbiba (ibid.) and was also observed in this research, that women also provide their labour for hire, but it is seems less common. A gendered distribution of labour has been shown where by women tend to 'own' the field, and men provide hired labour. 106 Table 5.3 Additional Labour Contributed to 2000/01 Harvest Farmer Land Preparation Planting Weeding Harvesting Shelling Mrs. Mukumbi Hired Help, Children, Husband Done with land preparation Hired help Hired Help, children Children Mrs. Kondowe Paid Aunt Not sure Aunt or Aunt's son Aunt Daughter, Aunts kids Mrs. Bushu Hired Help Grandaughter Mrs. Nthwana Hired Help Maid Maid Maid, Husband Family, kids in neighbourhood Mrs. Benjamin Daughter in law Sometimes son Mrs. Chingono Hired school boy Three children Mrs. Kanondo Generally, participation of family members is infrequent, available at harvest time, or not present, except for Mrs. Mukumbi's case where her family members help out throughout the cultivation season. Minimal labour contributions from children and husbands has been documented in other studies on U A in Harare (Matshalaga 1996), as well as in women's horticultural production in rural areas (Manyame 1997). It was quite interesting to hear from young urban people about their attitudes toward farming. Mrs. Mukumbi recognised that her kids might feel embarrassed to come to the fields. I had other young friends who suggested similar feelings too. I asked one of my friends and field research assistants3 if she thought young people would cultivate if they were struggling economically. She told me she did not think so, stating that she never sees people her own age cultivating. She reflected that she thought that kids are spoiled and that even she never went to help her mom in the fields. Another young female friend of mine recalled how embarrassed she felt when seen by one of her boyfriends, dirty and barefooted coming from the fields with her mom one day. As another young friend of mine said, "You don't want to look RB- rural background". Another women told me when I first met her that her kids were at school and did not 3 She holds a masters degree in agricultural economics and extension, possesses a wealth of experience in agricultural research, and is a young Zimbabwean women under thirty, she could easily provide insight on young people and urban farming. 107 want to help in the cultivation, but when it comes time to harvest, they will help out because they want to eat. From the way the women spoke, it sounded like their kids would rather have paid employment, and in some cases would rather keep up appearances than be seen out in the fields. When I hear these ideas, I can not help but wonder how we can engage young people in taking a greater interest in this cultural tradition of growing your own food. Like wealthier nations, many economically poor nations are now purchasing more and more of their food from supermarkets, which stock greater amounts of imported, processed goods, which are very costly to low income households (Drakakis-Smith et al. 1995, Drakakis-Smith 1994). Are such negative sentiments toward agricultural work among youth indicative of larger global trends and conditions? Does achieving greater levels of education have something to do with this, and/or could it be the kind of education young people now receive does not integrate the kinds of knowledge we can acquire through working with our hands, with nature, with the land? Are we devaluing knowledge related to our regional and local food systems? These are areas that lie outside the exploration of this thesis, however, the findings suggest these questions are worth exploring. The limited contribution of adult children and husbands demonstrate that if SOSC is classified as a household activity without clarifying who in the household engages in it, would misrepresent the realities of those who provide labour and the challenges, stress, and costs of providing it. As noted in chapter two, using households as the unit of analysis in research has warned of producing oversights of women's contributions (McFadden and Mvududu 2001, Pereira 2002, Matshalaga 1996, Wanzala 1998, Mbilinyi 1992). Most of the women were in their middle to late 50s, needed and wanted assistance with land preparation and planting, the most arduous tasks of farming. Yet, these were the areas of production where the women have to get assistance from outside the household, hence contributing to higher costs of production. BENEFITS & CONSTRAINTS T O C U L T I V A T I O N It is important to note too, that the numbers and tables provided in this chapter do not show the non-quantifiable benefits U A provides to these women. All the women 108 expressed pleasure to be able to share their green mealie cobs (which is a favourite treat at harvest time) with family, neighbours, friends, and lodgers. The harvest time is talked about with excitement and pride. It may even perhaps elevate their status within the household, and even within their neighbourhood during this period. I heard the women express their feelings that everyone wanted to partake in the products of the harvest, but few wanted to do the work involved in producing it, including their children. During one focus group discussion one women commented that she felt that some in the community appreciate what they do as urban farmers, while another woman said that they are admired, and sometimes envied by those who do not cultivate, or who can not afford to buy mealie meal everyday. As noted by a cultivator in Porta Farm "Some think the garden is too small and a waste, but if they see the products and do not have anything themselves, they come to ask, and this is when they start to appreciate" (Martin et al. 2000, 18). Certainly, a dollar value cannot be placed on these forms of gratification and outcomes from their work. The ability to bring home fresh produce and mealie cobs, contribute to the well being of their families, provide work, while sustaining a culture of food production, and maintaining a historical female urban livelihood should not be dismissed by the quantifiable results of their harvests, or the challenges they continue to endure to sustain the practice of SOSC. Indeed, many of the strengths and benefits of women's food production activities are not always visible to the eye, as many of the findings shared in the other chapters demonstrate. Theft, poor yields due to weather, site conditions, late planting and pests were other constraints the women contended with. All the women experienced theft. In some cases, it was quite significant, for both their maize crops, as well as their bean, pumpkin and sweet potato crops. While the loss from theft was a cost to these women, the produce was certainly a benefit to those who profited from it. Two women had poor yields as they had to plant later after receiving their fields in December, which meant that they planted after the first rains. One woman also had to plant three times as mice and crows ate the seeds. Three women complained of too much water on their site. Several of the women also lost their fields. Letters I received from some of the women in the following cultivation season revealed that the drought had severely impacted their yields in the 109 2002 cultivation season. One woman who harvested 195 kilograms in 2001, only received 50 kilograms in 2002. Another woman reported her harvest was reduced by fifty percent from the 2001 season. As a third woman wrote, "We have not enough rain this season but we tried our best. Some of our crops are not bad." A letter from one woman in 2004 indicated that her harvest was very successful this year, so the rains must have been better in their area this year. Hovorka (1998) provides a good overview of the various challenges faced by women who farm in the cities. These ranged from the absence of supportive policies, difficulties accessing services, land, labour, inputs, lack of formal employment options, time demands, burden of household responsibilities, women headed households, as well as environmental constraints, such as availability of water and healthy soil conditions. Many of these mirror those uncovered in this research as well. Other authors have mentioned similar gender related constraints4. It has been asserted that the practice of urban farming has been neglected because women dominate the sector and therefore, urban agriculture and the productive work women contribute to the sector have become economically marginalised (Lee-Smith and Memon 1994). For example, the above assertions have been posited to explain why U A does not receive research and extension services. "A recent study in Sub-Saharan Africa found that although women make up 60-80% of the agricultural labour force, they receive only 4-6% of extension visits" (Smit, Ratta and Nasr, 1996, 213). In Harare, there is only one urban extension worker for the entire city. The findings from this research will also lend credibility to such claims. There is often focus on the need for rural women to gain better access to markets, information and services as most of these are associated and located within urban centres. However, many urban women seem to face similar constraints to rural women, despite their closer proximity to markets, services and information. In both rural and urban areas, women's roles as food providers have been overlooked. Women's access and control of land has been constrained and their 4 Refer to Spies 1998; Quon 1998; van Hirtum, Goewie and Getachew 2002; Lima et al 2000; Cavric and Mosha 2001; Lamba 1993; Hasna 1998; Mawoneke and King 1998; Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996; Lee-Smith and Lamba 1998; Mougeot 1999a; Nugent 2000; IDRC 1998; Bradford, Brook and Hunshal 2002. 110 requirements for inputs, labour, information, education, credit and loans are not well addressed (Manyame 1997, Shava 1997, Mtaita 1997, Moyo 1995, Sylvester 2000, Un-named 1990, Muchena 1994, Gata 1987, Chenaux-Repond 19-). Due to the similarities in gender-related findings between rural and urban areas, I have come to question how much of these findings are actually attributed to a problem of distance, and not to the economic marginalisation of women (although factors of age, class, race, and education levels are also influential), especially given their over representation in subsistence agriculture in both rural and urban areas. Proximity does not seem to necessarily correlate with greater use of services, information and markets when it comes to some urban women, and therefore, they should not necessarily be seen as having greater advantage. IDENTIFYING NEEDS F O R SOSC The women expressed common responses when defining their urban-farming needs. A National Consultative Workshop was held in Harare in June 2001 for the purposes of sharing findings and promoting dialogue on information, training and communication needs within U A systems in Zimbabwe. The women were invited to give a presentation, and so we created space within the research to discuss what two representatives from their group would tell the NGO, donor agency, academic, media, municipal staff and local and federal government attendees. During our first meeting (June 15, 2001) the women were very clear about what their needs were, and had assembled their ideas and achieved consensus in about an hour. Of prime concern was their need to have land that they could farm, that they could cultivate 'without fear'. Women desired assistance in land preparation, and said that a tractor would be useful to them.5 They wanted inputs that were affordable. Inflation was causing the cost of farming inputs to continuously rise. As already mentioned, many women were purchasing seeds and fertilisers in scoops and paying more than if they had purchased in sufficient quantities and larger amounts. They were also aware that they may not be applying the most suitable seeds and techniques for the conditions at their 5 The city has provided services for urban cultivators, notably those who worked in co-operatives. Mbiba (1995) found that in 1994-1995 council tractors were made widely available in Tafara and Mabvuku. 111 urban plots and wanted information to assist them. The women wanted services, such as the provision of extension agents, to be organised near their homes, for their neighbourhood. A s there was significant reports in theft, the women requested security for their small plots. The women also expressed a sincere willingness to explore other alternatives to subsistence cultivation, they wanted to know what other options might be suitable for them, whether farming related or otherwise, and how they might access funding to undertake them. They specifically mention their ages as an important factor to consider when identifying other options. These women were pushing themselves to provide for their families even when their bodies were telling them they needed rest. These needs are summarised below in Table 5.4, and Appendix 6 provides the complete Shona and English versions shared with workshop participants. Table 5.4 Identified Needs of Older Women Cultivators 1. To obtain Land and Cultivate without Fear 2. Affordable prices for farming inputs 3. Tel l them in time i f there are any changes to land use 4. To be trained in easier and cheaper farming methods -How to increase yields -Fertiliser usage- what kind, how much and how to apply -Matching seed types to soil and climate in Harare -Innovations and new technologies 5. Security from theft for their little plots 6. Information on how to access suitable loans, credit or funding- where and how 7. What other crops they could cultivate other than maize - Cash crops - H o w can they cultivate these and where can they get inputs 8. They would be happier i f things were done in Shona 9. Other alternatives that w i l l help them take care of their families, since they are older Some of these needs are not overly complicated to address from a technical standpoint, especially those that relate to improving farming practices. There is no shortage of ideas on how to provide assistance, as these are abundant in literature on agriculture and urban agriculture. A couple of examples would be to collectively purchase inputs, or to offer training to farmers to improve soil conditions using organic 112 methods. However, even the simplest of these can prove complicated to implement without organisational support and dedication. The women did not know who was providing such services to assist them, and even if they did, there were other barriers to overcome. For example, I organised for a consultant to come and give a workshop on permaculture and/or organic methods of soil fertility, water conservation and pest management. However, on the day of the workshop, the consultant had no transportation available to come to the woman's neighbourhood (a real problem given the high costs and scarcity of fuel). These are real constraints that involve more time and energy in the organisational aspects of providing support. Further, even if the women had information on who provides what services, their financial resources can not support the number of phone calls and bus trips to meet with those who work in offices downtown, or in the low density suburbs where most NGOs are headquartered. I also picked up an application for funding from one of the government loan offices and it was written in English with no Shona version. The application required knowledge of business and marketing, and information that would be difficult for most people without the assistance of those with higher educations, English literacy, and business savvy, and yet I was told these were applications suitable for women who wanted funds for 'informal' sector businesses. The application was ten pages long, contained technical language, and required a fee to be paid up front. It is clear from their articulation of needs that these women are quite astute and capable of identifying their own needs. The needs they stated show a willingness to be adaptive and flexible to new ideas. They are expressed in a direct manner, and the women recognised their age as an important factor to consider in identifying alternatives, a factor often overlooked and ill considered (Beales, Page, Patel and Wafer 1999). Although the needs are clear and specific, and there are existing services and knowledge to address them, the women and their needs will remain neglected without a willingness and capacity to provide and organise their delivery. A more systematic organisation of the delivery of services is needed, and it is not the lack of 'organisation' of women that constrains the provision of such assistance. Unfortunately, there is very little evidence from this field work that suggests even these more basic technical needs will be easily 113 addressed by the women themselves without garnering the necessary support for organisation and advocacy. Further, due to continued inflation, and constant price increases for all major household expenses (staple food, electricity, school fees, water, public transit etc.), all of the women wanted to continue cultivating in order to provide for their families, even though they were at an age where they would have liked to scale down such physically demanding work. Most of the women are in their 50s, some now in their 60s, and while they still have their health and strength to continue farming, they recognise that their bodies may not allow them to continue with the same vigour, or even the same activities. These older farming women have to use scarce financial resources to hire labour to assist with the most arduous tasks of farming, or undertake all of the work on their own. Yet, there is very little that seems available to older people to assist them with finding alternatives to farming, or even, acquiring support for their urban farming activities. The problem of lack or absence of support available to these women is largely embedded in policy, governance and planning practices, which the next two chapters will discuss. 114 CHAPTER VI Policy and Local Governance: Women, Cultivation and Confrontation 'Involve the ordinary women, they say they are tired of us speaking for them' Closing remarks of the Women's Land Rights in Southern Africa conference, November 28, 2000 "Those who believe in supernatural powers allege that the 1992 drought was partly a punishment from god for destroying the gifts given to the people. Food should never be destroyed." Mbiba 1995, 96 INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the possibility that there are culturally rooted and gendered power struggles within institutional structures and organisational strategies arising between the Harare 'Farming Mothers'- gendered female, and 'City Fathers', or City Authorities- gendered male.6 Is such a characterisation accurate and relevant in exploring the policy and governance issues in urban agriculture? Has culture played a role in these protagonists' contrasting views of SOSC, and in creating a space for women cultivators at the decision making tables that address how SOSC and U A will be 'legalised', 'organised' and practised in the city? The findings shared in this chapter examine the areas of women's influence and political participation at the local level within the context of a highly authoritarian and non-democratic national political system, as explained in Chapter 3. This foregrounds a comparative policy analysis of legal access channels to SOSC in Harare revealing local governance structures weakened by politics of patronage, rent seeking, and disorganisation which puts at risk the livelihoods of older cultivating 6 The findings represented in this chapter originate from 37 interviews and meetings with individuals from the local and federal government, professionals from non-governmental organisations, and academics. The ratio of men to women was thirty to seven. Even when the seven women I worked with and myself are included, the ratio is far from being balanced. This speaks to one obstacle that is faced when trying to establish some gender equity on policy issues on UA. 1.15 women, and in effect, legitimises land grabbing, state-sanctioned violence, and non-democratic models of leadership. The policy analysis provided in this chapter uncovers some interesting insights from examining the legal channels for cultivators to undertake open space cultivation. Nine channels for undertaking legal U A are identified, indicating that indeed open space cultivation must be a legal activity within the city. I undertake this policy analysis against the backdrop of gender identities and gender inequality in governance and political decision-making. M e n predominate in positions at all policy and government levels, as well as in academia and in N G O s , and many have not created spaces for meaningful exploration of gender in their work, or made a deliberate attempt to include the participation of women. Women have yet to infiltrate the positions where decision making occurs, and we should be cognisant of this when addressing policy and decision making on U A issues. It can not be assumed however that simply having more women participating at these levels w i l l result in more gender sensitive policy making. Further, as the findings in this chapter show, the ideas, attitudes and opinions of 'men' is far from harmonious, but rather, represent a diversity of viewpoints. However, what is apparent when we discuss policy and governance, is that there is a generalised pattern of power differentials between 'women' representing the category of 'urban farmers' who have no interaction or access to policy and decision making, and 'men', who are over represented as 'authority' figures, decision makers and holders of sites of power. M y emphasis on women helps to compensate for this imbalance in this thesis. W O M E N , S T A T U S & G O V E R N A N C E Identities, Agriculture and Women Women's identities in postcolonial states like Zimbabwe are inextricably linked to crises and conflict situations because they must daily find ways to meet the basic requirements of their families needs to eat, be schooled and sheltered, in the face of many forms of oppression created by an authoritarian state and its police and military backers, local power brokers, merchants, capitalists, patriarchal families and unequal gender relations. Although identities in general are multiple and complex, not static or singular, particular identities can be evoked for specific purposes, means and ends. In conflict 116 situations, women urban cultivators have been establishing an empowering identity of womanhood, motherhood and food provider by creating entitlement to urban land for their work in food production. These identities are far from images of mothers as helpless victims, seated at home, waiting for the wages of male heads of households, or handouts from indifferent nation states or international donors (who have paid little attention to urban women, or urban farming). When a group of twenty women were asked at the beginning of this fieldwork why they cultivated, the general reasons dealt with needing to feed their children due to hunger and poverty, lack of employment in the household, small incomes, high costs of food, and to assist husbands (First Highfield Meeting, September 21, 2000). In chapter four, seven women discuss the responsibilities they have within their culture to put food on the table. As one woman noted " No one says 'at that man's house there is no food'-they say 'at that woman's house there is no food"'' (Focus Group. November 20, 2000). As Muchena (1994) reflects women's roles as food providers, in both urban and rural areas is not well acknowledged. "Women food producers continue to operate under inherent social and institutional constraints within the household and in society. There is an apparent need for a paradigm shift to conceptualise women's agricultural activities within the gender relationships framework" (ibid. 358). Given the historically gendered struggle over land in urban areas for SOSC, one might posit that the persistence of supposedly 'illegal' cultivation by women is an expression and a re-affirmation of their long standing sites of socio-economic status by appealing to their identities as mothers and food providers. Whether the shifts toward integrating U A into policies and plans is a form of recognition of these roles is something left to be explored as there are many circumstances that need to be weighted in. 7 However, if we reflect on the situation before the 1990s when women were the predominant demographic in SOSC, such contestations might be easier to uncover, and worthy of future research. There are now more men entering UA, there are serious food shortages, unemployment and re-trenchment, increasing awareness of gender and so forth that needs consideration. 117 Gender, Governance and Women's Political Participation Governance is probably one of the most difficult areas that have inhibited progressive attitudes and actions toward more inclusive decision making in Harare. Two contentious governance issues are the need to address gender issues and the active participation of various groups of women, especially those from underprivileged classes, in policy setting and political decision-making. Mama (1995) argues that the key indicators of the general level of democracy in a society are attributed to the constitutional and legal status of women. In Zimbabwe, statistics compiled on the representation of women in local government elections demonstrate the seriousness of the situation. The percentage of women elected in 1999 and 1995 local elections was 7% and 8% respectively, demonstrating a decrease, instead of an increase in women's attainment of political and decision making positions (Duri 1999, 26). In Harare, the proportion of female to male Councilors has been six to thirty-six (Gofmonzi 19—). Within key positions within the civil service, women hold at most 26% of positions, to as little as 0% (Duri 1999, 25). In the twenty-year history of independent Zimbabwe, only once has a woman been voted mayor (ibid.). The barriers to women's political involvement, especially in leadership and decision making positions are many. Culture and tradition are often cited by men and women as reasons for the maintenance of institutions, including political structures. In Duri's (ibid., 26) summary of views shared during a workshop for women managers and councillors8, it was conceded that "Women's attempts to break the cultural and traditional barriers have been viewed with cynicism by men. This stems from the unfounded fears that women are clamouring to break into areas that were traditionally the preserve of men. As a result, men have tended to view gender issues as danger issues. Danger in the sense that men still have a lot of misconceptions about the advancement of women." Margaret Dongo, known as one of the strongest woman political figures in Zimbabwe, believes that "her struggle for advancement in political structures is hampered by sexist attitudes from men and women alike. She says that too many women are so heavily influenced and economically dependent on the male members in their households that The workshop was organised by the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe in October 1999. 118 this tends to determine their belief about the dominance and leadership of men and the subservience of women" (Nyoka 1999, 33). I recall hearing men say in several contexts, within professional forums, that women have themselves to blame because they do not even vote for other women. Discussions were not pushed further to inquire why it might be that women do not vote for other woman. Ogundipe's (1994) thoughts are helpful in creating some understanding on why African women now have so many hurdles to overcome in the political foray. When the British ruled, existing political structures were replaced by male dominated structures and positions, erasing any previous political roles women held in society.9 Women became more marginalised in the production process, for the cash crops became the main crop, leading to new attitudes of male social and economic superiority. These economic exchanges in Africa following the intrusion of the West were inextricably linked to political changes in society which, again, affected cultural attitudes towards women... the traditional political structures were either completely abandoned or so distorted as to sweep away any female participation in the handling of local power. (Ogundipe 1994, 29) In fact, there remains so much that we still do not know about the roles of women in Africa before colonialism (Oyewumi 2003). Lewis (2003) expresses the concern that much of the well funded research on women and gender in Africa places cultural practice and production as peripheral to discussions on governance, economics and allocation. She asserts that "Explorations of culture help to stimulate comprehensive explorations of social experiences, and also encourage critical attention to the roots and complexities of social institutions, political processes and economic trajectories" (ibid.) The inculcation of such values into areas of African society has meant that even in independent states like Zimbabwe, women remain subjected to attitudes that inhibit their entry into politics. As Meena (1995, 18) describes "Most states in this region did not willingly create space for women's organisations to emerge as autonomous political organisations to fight for women's rights. Governments hijacked the women's movements by creating women's political wings of the ruling party as the only legitimate political forum for women." Pereria (2002) examines the state of politics in Africa and posits that politics has become the practice of war by other means. She argues that 119 "African women who aspire to political office are faced not only with the burden of trying to enter a domain constructed as a war zone - and to do so while keeping body and soul together - but if they are feminists, to do so with the additional aim of re-imagining and reconstructing politics itself. Against this background of women's under-representation in politics, and the simultaneous subordination and co-optation of gender issues on the part of states and governance structures, I now turn into a discussion of current policies governing urban agriculture and SOSC in the City of Harare. U A AND SOSC P O L I C Y U A and SOSC related policies touch upon complex and interwoven issues such as environmental resource management, land tenure, food security, governance, social planning, agricultural practices, gender, housing, unemployment, poverty and so forth. Addressing policy for U A in Harare thus poses serious challenges to all those who endeavour to foray into this messy and complex territory. The majority of writing on U A in Zimbabwe generally starts from the early to mid 1990s, corresponding with a significant increase in the magnitude and impact of maize production witnessed in the open spaces of the city after the introduction of economic structural adjustment policies. It is estimated that the area under cultivation in Harare increased 93% between 1990 to 1994 (Mudimu 1996, 181). From the 1980s onwards, the practice of urban open space cultivation has been widely discouraged by local decision-makers and environmentalists. The reaction by the City of Harare would be best described as arbitrary and reactionary. Its stance and actions on the issue have varied over time, fluctuating from being accommodating to prohibitive, depending upon prevailing circumstances and attitudes (Mbiba 1995, Chaipa 2001). The tensions existing between local authorities and decision-makers, and the practitioners of open space cultivation are widely understood to revolve around environmental, urban aesthetic and economic efficiency concerns. As most researchers 9 In Zimbabwe, laws such as the Native Marriage Ordinance of 1901 pronounced women as legal minors, and were therefore denied independent access to land, housing or wage employment. 120 and publications on U A have contended, policy responses within the last decade have been absent, while the City of Harare has taken various, and often times highly controversial, steps towards dealing with this persistent land use. At some points, urban cultivation has been confronted through dialogue and education, while at other times, force and a heavy hand have been applied. From the early 1980s educational campaigns and police monitoring were employed to curb the practice, especially on sensitive riparian zones. By 1984, it seemed clear that all attempts to halt SOSC by the city were in vain (Mbiba 1995). In 1986, city authorities undertook their first maize slashing operations, and proceeded to slash again in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which were highly unpopular with women cultivators (ibid.). Concerns over soil erosion and siltation from rural and urban agriculture have • persisted since the days of colonial administration. The Natural Resource Board was established in 1941 when soil erosion and lack of soil conservation measures were witnessed in commercial farming and reserve areas (personal communication, Maturure, September 14, 2001). Some academic studies, as well as environmental NGOs and government departments have documented that open space cultivation, especially along or near streams, has contributed to soil erosion, siltation and the contamination of municipal water supplies (Mudimu et al. 1996, Bowyer-Bower et al. 1996). Other academics argue that sufficient research has yet to substantiate such claims (Gumbo 2000, Martin et al. 2000, Drakakis-Smith et al. 1995). Regardless, the City has attributed increasing water purification costs and urban environmental degradation to the wide spread practice of urban cultivation, while paying less attention to impacts from other industries. In addition to the environmental concerns expressed by the City, city officials have also challenged the role of urban agriculture as a legitimate land use within the urban boundary. Their main concern revolves around competing forms of land use in the city. It has become almost cliche to read that urban agriculture might be considered an oxymoron, as agriculture is a rural activity and does not have a place in the economies and functions of cities. In addition, the market value of urban agricultural land can not compete with the value of land for residential, commercial, or industrial development, and does not have the potential to increase the tax base to the degree these latter land uses 121 can. Only one out of eleven professionals with planner education and/or experience (five held positions in local and national government) held onto such rigid views. That planner asserted that because most land in urban areas was privately owned; and because land fetches better prices for 'urban' uses than for agriculture, urban agriculture does not make for a "proper or suitable land use in the city". He stressed that land ownership and economics are the determining issues (personal communication, Dengura, September 26, 2000). The practice of urban cultivation is also said to be competing with land for greatly needed housing. Further, cultivators are accused of refusing to vacate land needed for development and removing surveying pegs, resulting in high financial and social costs to the City (Mbiba 1995). This was also confirmed by the Deputy Director of the Department of Housing and Community Services at the City of Harare (personal communication, Ropi, October 13, 2000). The Deputy Director of Housing was emphatic that it is not the obligation of Council to provide land for agriculture. Again, however, this view was not widely held by the majority I spoke with. Lastly, the City is also concerned with safety issues as mature maize plants allegedly offer good hiding places for thieves and muggers. I was not made aware however of any documentation of such events, or of how cultivated fields might aid any form of criminal activity. While worthy of further research, this "safety issue" concern only serves to instil social panic and fear, and associate urban agriculture and their cultivators with criminality and other "dark elements" in society. Upon Independence, Harare had no policies established on urban cultivation, and up until the past few years, had never developed an effective plan or strategy to include U A at either the local, or at the national level. It appears that the city of Harare was left to its own devices to implement directives from national level Ministries, or to allow, or not allow U A in local plans and by-laws. This policy gap has contributed to an unclear delegation of authority between government actors, unclear procedures for obtaining land for UA, varying accommodation of U A from one suburb to the next, and diverse interpretations of the legality of U A between all actors. 122 The Unveiling Of A Myth: The Legality of UA: Case Examples Discussions on whether U A was either a legal or illegal activity in the City were common, and never to my understanding, culminated in any clarity. I heard diverse opinions, including those of eleven professionals with planning backgrounds (many have worked in municipal government, although a few are now working in non-governmental organisations). Generally, most were under the impression, or contended that U A was illegal. The clearest way to frame these insights on the actual legality of UA, and to share the reflections from working with seven women cultivators, is to discuss the numerous channels to undertaking legal UA. These channels evolved from meetings and interviews with various stakeholders, especially from the city of Harare, where I would ask how one could get legal access to cultivate. What is surprising, is that for a City who has the reputation for cracking down on illegal UA, nine channels for undertaking legal U A were uncovered. Harare and Mutare are used as case examples to compare differing approaches to U A policy setting and implementation. Mutare The institutional organisation of U A at the City of Mutare, provides an example of a city with a clear delegation of authority and procedures on UA. According to discussions with Liston Mhlanga (personal communication August 16, 2001), a senior planner for the City of Mutare, and Mr. Matare (personal communication August 16, 2001), the community services officer for the City of Mutare's Department of Housing, the protocols for UA are conducted annually as shown in Table 6.1. 123 Table 6.1 Protocols to Facilitate Legal SOSC in Mutare 1. Each year before the rainy season the Department of Housing makes a request to the planning department to indicate where people can cultivate. 2. Planning Department produces maps showing areas demarcated for cultivation. 3. The plans are given to Council and the Environmental Management Committee for approval. 4. When maps are approved, they are given to each Councillor. 5. Councillors advertise meetings to be held in each ward. There are approximately 15-18 meetings held and all wards are covered within two weeks time. Meetings are chaired by a Council officials and councillors. Citizens come to get land. 6. The district officers' (there is one in each ward) function is to give permits and consult with the Department of Housing. Permits are required by each citizen to cultivate and these are purchased at a reasonable cost. For those already holding permits, they will only be able to continue cultivating their field by renewing their permit each year. For citizens who have had no access to an urban field, they can only gain a field through obtaining a permit, which generally occurs when there is available land, or new land is acquired (which is rare in Mutare due to its mountainous terrain). When areas are taken out of agricultural production by the planning department for other purposes, such as commercial development, permit holders for that area lose their land with no compensation, or opportunity to get a field in another area, unless there is new land available. 7. For new land acquisitions, such as farms, the land will be demarcated with the assistance of Agritex. The department of housing will come up with a list of people and plans for how to allocate the plots to citizens. As Mr. Matare expressed, it is very difficult to identify the neediest people. They may have to ask for the assistance of Councillors to provide names. Plans go back to Council. The City has eighteen rangers drawn from the municipal police who patrol the wards and notify Council of violations through the Environmental Management Committee. They monitor permits and violations of the 30 metre stream bank cultivation regulations. The rangers will slash maize after reporting to Council. Mr. Mhlanga explained that sometimes U A is used as a political "carrot and stick" measure and sometimes councillors will refuse to slash maize. The above procedures were set out after the 1990s. Before then the City of Mutare only gave land to co-operatives. But most co-operatives have disintegrated, and Mr. Matare believed there were no more than 20 agricultural co-operatives left, and that most have subdivided land individually. Mr. Matare was very empathetic toward the difficulties faced by residents, and those who need urban land to grow food. The 124 conditions upon which people can cultivate are concise and reliable as they stay the same year from year. The city and councilors take the initiative to organise meetings in every ward. While providing cultivators some clarity on how to access land, Mutare's approach does not represent long term access to UA only on a temporary basis until the land is required for 'development' purposes. Harare The situation in Harare is quite different from Mutare. When the list of access points for 'legal' UA were compiled, it was quite surprising to see how many channels were mentioned. These are summarised and explained below. 1. Approach The Urban Extension Officer At Agritex In 1999 Agritex10 appointed one full time extension officer to urban farmers in both Harare and Chitungwiza.11 According to my interview with the District Officer, Agritex was responding to local demands as cultivators were coming into the office for assistance. The District Officer took one rural field post and turned that into a post for an urban extension officer. There were no concerns raised with the exchange as long as Agritex worked within its mandate on food production and self-sufficiency. The extension officer works with a district housing officer (there is a district housing officer for each ward in the city) to identify farmers and carry out training. Technically, the urban extension worker was supposed to be introduced to the local councilor, but this did not happen in 2000 because City Council had been suspended. The inability to dialogue with councilors meant that the extension worker would have to start her work with 'illegal' cultivators over again once Council was back in place. This avenue to cultivate legally through working with the extension officer is available, but was not during 2000-2001 because of the Council suspensions. As will be discussed below, the extension worker can further play a role in assisting farmers to legally cultivate stream banks. Agritex is a department within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture & Rural Resettlement with a mandate that includes providing agricultural extension services in rural areas. " Chitungwiza is Zimbabwe's third largest city, situated 25 kilometres south of Harare (Zinyama 1993). It has always played an integral function to Harare as much of its population work in Harare. This was one of the ridiculous planning practices used to keep the black population at a 'comfortable' distance from white European areas (Chikowore 1993). 125 2. Obtain A Permit To Undertake Stream Bank Cultivation Separate interviews with the District Officer for Agritex (Goromodzi-Seke) and a senior Natural Resource Officer with the Natural Resource Board (NRB) both explained that cultivators could obtain permits to undertake cultivation along stream banks. Agritex recognised that if they were to control environmental degradation they would need to co-operate with the Ministry of Environment, and foster inter departmental co-operation. They agreed to brief each other on procedures for cultivation on wetlands, and give advice on how to cultivate on wetlands to ensure suitable techniques were put in place. According to the Natural Resource Officer (NRO), the cultivator must fill out a NRB form. The form must be taken to a local authority to be endorsed (such as a local housing district officer), and then taken to the NRO. The application must then go to the district head of Agritex who will give technical input (such as develop sketch map and acreage) and will advise on what has to be done before cultivation can be carried out. Then the application goes back to the NRO who will make comments on the application and give recommendations. Next, the application is given to a provincial officer for comments and recommendations, and finally to the head office of the NRB who has the final say on the application. Rejections can be appealed and these go to an administrative court. This is a very lengthy and involved process. As I understood from Agritex's explanation, their urban extension worker will facilitate the acquisition of the permit on behalf of the cultivator, but I am not sure how much this streamlines the process. As noted by the NRO, officers were not creating awareness of this process so they were currently training them on law enforcement and how to process the application forms. According to the NRB and Agritex, each has recognised that U A is here to stay. 3. Register At The Department Of Housing The Acting City Planner for Harare during our first U A stakeholder forum in December 2000, recommended that the women approach the Department of Housing and Community Services to see about acquiring land to cultivate legally. However, during my previous August 2000 meeting with the urban extension worker and the Agritex District Officer, I was told that in 1999 the Department of Housing had ceased registering cultivators. The extension agent understood that cultivation was not being allowed as the 126 Housing Department was having problems getting people off the land when they wanted to develop it. So, they stopped authorizing the use of land for U A and it became illegal. 4. Get Written Permission from the District Housing Officer This is where the contradictions become even more apparent. At a U A Stakeholder Forum, the District Housing Officer (DO) for Mabelreign and Malborough (for ten years) gave a short presentation to inform us of what happens in his low density area. The land covering Mabelreign and Marlborough is mostly state land. In 1994, the Elderman for the area was very supportive of U A and helped eight women form a co-operative in Marlborough by assisting them with inputs and requesting land from the DO. This initiative received opposition from the public, therefore a compromise was made to put some of the land aside. In 2001, there were thirty women in the co-operative, each with one acre plots, and receiving support from Agritex, as well as their sponsor Panar Seed Co. The DO told us that more people have been coming to request the use of greenways for cultivation, and now most greenways are used for cultivation.12 This DO saw a need to sensitize ratepayers to the needs and benefits of using open spaces for food production. Further, when I inquired if it was illegal to cultivate open spaces, the DO responded by saying it was not, and that he gives farmers written permission to cultivate each year. I went to speak with the DO for the area where the women I worked with lived to find out what his role was in allocating land to cultivators. He said the cultivators in his area had been farming for so long without permits or registration that he questioned why cultivators would bother to go to the housing office now. Like many observers of SOSC activities have noted, this DO said that cultivators want to farm as individuals, not co-operatives, therefore, he did not play any role in U A activities in his jurisdiction because cultivators did not come to register as a co-operative, but continued to cultivate individually (Personal Communication. Mr. Mashonganyika, December 7, 2000). 5. Form A Co-Operative Two co-operative officers from the Department of Housing and Community Services said there were not more than 20 co-ops as of November 2000. Due to fuel shortages they were unable to visit these often. By 2001, the Department of Co-1 2 These were open spaces designed into the plans for Mabelreign, which was developed on a North American suburban land-use design. 127 operatives in the City was no longer functional (Personal communication. Irene Rusike, August 20, 2001). 6. Go Through Your City Councilor The Deputy Director of the Department of Housing and Community Services in the City of Harare set out the procedures a resident would have to go through to cultivate an open space (Interview, October 13, 2000). First, the resident should go to their Councilor, whereby the Councilor takes their request to the District Housing Officer (DO) who w i l l examine the local plan. The D O w i l l liase with the City Valuer and Town Planning. The Planning Department w i l l visit the site and demarcate it. If there is no objection, then the land is given on a temporary basis. It then remains the responsibility of the D O to monitor illegal cultivation. The major obstacle with this avenue, as indicated by the Agritex staff, is that Councilors are not available. Further, local residents in many cases have no access to their Councilors anyway, as the women made very clear during interviews which w i l l be discussed later in this chapter. 7. Seek Permission From The City Council According to the director of Musikavanhu Project (a community based organisation that w i l l be discussed shortly), they obtained permission to use the open spaces around their homes from approaching City Council for permission. It was agreed that i f Musikavanhu Project maintained the environment, they could use the soil for their benefit. They have thus obtained a letter of permission. 8. Include U A In Local Neighborhood Plans The Acting Town Planner in 2000 clarified, in a written response to interview questions, and during our first U A Stakeholder Forum meeting, that for U A to be legal, it needed to be accommodated within the local plans that govern land use planning in each neighbourhood. In her words "Local plans and schemes outline land uses in all areas under the jurisdiction of the city of Harare. Unfortunately, 'urban agriculture' is not one of the recognised land uses. In other words, 'urban agriculture' is an illegal use as per the relevant statutes... Urban agriculture as a landuse can be legitimised by including it in local plans as a distinct zone. This can be done by allowing agriculture on certain parts of 128 open spaces where small plots can be properly demarcated in a landscaped setting" (Written interview responses, November 3, 2000). 9. Unofficially, Just Do It! The Town Planner indicates in the same written response mentioned above that there seems to be an unofficial or de facto support of U A on the part of the City Council: "Due to pressure of need for land to cultivate, especially in high density suburbs and the politics behind the whole venture, Council has adopted a 'soft' approach and people have been told unofficially that they can cultivate at least 30 metres from any stream" (Written interview responses, November 3, 2000). Table 6.2. Summary of Options to Legal Access to U A for Residents of Harare Option Main Obstacles Through the urban extension officer at Agritex Only one extension officer serving both Harare and Chitungwiza. Receive a permit to undertake stream bank cultivation Most cultivators, even city staff are unaware of this option. Very complicated process. Register at the Department of Housing Stopped registering cultivators in 1999 Get written permission from District Housing Officer Only some district housing officers make the effort to do this. Many are not. Form a Co-operative Not a popular avenue anymore as most want to cultivate individually. City co-op section was no longer functional by 2001 Go Through Your Councilor Residents need to have access to their councilor-many do not. Mistrust of councilors. Permission from the City Council Difficult for many cultivators to seek this channel-very formal approach. Include U A as a Land Use in Local Plans. Waiting to have U A included in over 40 local plans will be very timely. Unofficially Provides no long term access to land, but the benefit has been that it provides the easiest, informal access then all the other channels. As the above examples demonstrate, there are many channels for undertaking sanctioned urban agriculture in Harare. Unfortunately, as can also be discerned from above, even those who should know about these channels are not aware of the diversity 1 3 Unfortunately, Councillors have not always used the formal channels to allocate land to their constituents. It is not clear from my findings whether individual cultivators using this channel are given actual permits. 129 o f opt ions avai lable . Y e t , e v e r y d a y c i t izens are expected to k n o w these, e v e n t h o u g h most o f t h e m have n o direct interact ion w i t h their c o u n c i l l o r s or district h o u s i n g off icers , an urban extens ion w o r k e r , a planner , the C i t y C o u n c i l , or sponsors a n d patrons. F u r t h e r m o r e , it is actual ly i m p o s s i b l e to determine i f any o f these channe l s represent ' legal ' rights to cult ivate l a n d that is undertaken o n private u n d e v e l o p e d l a n d . T h i s was absent f r o m any o f the explanat ions a n d w h y there is need for m o r e c o n c e p t u a l c lar i ty between different types o f U A . 1 4 M y i m p r e s s i o n is that most cult ivators operate w i t h the unders tanding that U A is permit ted u n o f f i c i a l l y ( legal channe l n u m b e r nine) , as this is the mos t w i d e l y d i s seminated i n f o r m a t i o n ( M u d i m u 1996, E N D A 1997). F o r e x a m p l e , the w o m e n I w o r k e d w i t h , as w e l l as other cult ivators , d iscuss that U A s h o u l d not be undertaken near stream banks . M a n y have heard rad io announcements p r o c l a i m i n g these regulat ions . A n d there was at least one w o m a n i n our g r o u p w h o h a d her m a i z e s lashed t w o weeks f r o m maturi ty i n 2000 because her f i e ld was w i t h i n the 30 meter buffer , w h i c h she k n e w . I w o u l d even contend that this is the l i v i n g p o l i c y , i.e. the de facto p o l i c y unders tood b y cit izens i n the absence o f a n y leadership f r o m the C i t y to d e v e l o p U A po l i c i e s they c o u l d support. T h e r e is r e c o r d o f over 50 years o f def iance o f the l o c a l laws that have tried to restrict U A , part i cu lar ly after 1980, a n d this resistance w i l l u n l i k e l y e n d i f p e o p l e are not g i v e n entit lement to use u n d e v e l o p e d o p e n spaces. A n a l y s i s o f the S i tuat ion T h e fact that those i n posi t ions o f authority o n such matters w h o are w o r k i n g for a n d w i t h the C i t y o f H a r a r e a c k n o w l e d g e there are lega l w a y s to engage i n U A , means that U A c a n not be i l l ega l . W h a t makes the situation m o r e c o n f u s i n g is that s o m e o f these same peop le perpetuate that U A is i l l ega l and/or are not c lear o n w h i c h types o f U A they d e e m legal , a n d w h i c h they d o not. T h e s u m m a r y o f channels d e s c r i b e d above p r o d u c e v e r y contradic tory , inconsistent and unc lear messages . O n e begins to w o n d e r h o w c i ty authorities c a n point f ingers at cult ivators for b e i n g 'unorgan i sed ' w h e n the state o f their 1 4 As most have defined U A as off-plot or on-plot, categories of U A have not included discussions of U A in relation to forms of land ownership. Most off-plot cultivators do not own the land they use, and may not even know whether the land is privately, state or municipal owned land, yet decision makers and planners state that land ownership is a key determinant of the legitimacy of SOSC. 130 own protocols on cultivation are in such a state of disarray. While the city advertises its 'unofficial' authorisation of open space cultivation on public radios and signposts (i.e. no cultivation within 30 metres of streambanks), cultivators remain stigmatised as violators of the law, practising an 'illegal' activity that provides food for the working poor, the ill, children, youth and unemployed. What Makes U A Legal? When I undertook my first readings of the various Acts that governed planning in Harare, there were numerous policies referring to cultivation that left the impression that the City had authority to incorporate agriculture in both residential and peri-urban zones within the City. During my ten months of working in Harare, there were a number of knowledgeable professionals who have affirmed the City's legal authority to accommodate UA. First, the Urban Councils Act confers general powers to local authorities that include: to cultivate and farm land owned by the municipality or town that is not required for other purposes (Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15, revised edition 1996, Second Schedule s.7]). The Acting Town Planner in 2000 (UA Stakeholder Forum, December 14, 2001) confirmed that the Town and Country Act does have provisions allowing for the preparation of plans, in which U A can be legalised. (Refer to Appendix 7 for an overview of the relevant policies found in pertinent Acts and Plans). Two planners expressed that from their understanding of the relevant legislation, planners at the city did have the authority to legalise UA. One of them, Rushaka, firmly stated that from a planning point of view, U A is a permitted land use, and the master plan for Harare explicitly provides for rural and urban agriculture (personal communication, September 18, 2000). Rushaka provides a very reliable account because he worked as a planner for the City and helped develop the master plan for Harare, although he now works with an NGO. Further, some of these provisions are shared in Appendix 7. It was his opinion that U A is ignored due to political intervention interfering with the enforcement of the Act. The other planner, Isaac Chaipa, has studied U A extensively via his direct involvement with the first IDRC funded U A research with E N D A in the mid 1990s, plus he has continued to research and write on U A up to the present. His analysis 131 suggests that the policies themselves are not actually restrictive, but that it is the interpretation of the policies that has impeded the legalisation of U A (personal communication, Chaipa, September 1, 2000). Furthermore, conclusions drawn by Gumbo's (2000) analysis of the Harare Combination Master Plan also confirms the authority of the city to plan for UA. A third point to validate the legality of U A comes directly from on the ground practices of U A in the districts of Mabelreign and Malborough. The District Officer for Mabelreign and Malborough have been allowing cultivation on open spaces by issuing written permission to cultivators since at least 1994. Although the Acting Town Planner has stated that U A can only be legalised by permitting it as a land use in local plans (i.e. neighbourhood plans), in 2001, U A was just being integrated as a land use in the local plan for the these two areas. The district officer assessed that U A in his area was being legally practised for all these years on the grounds that the land used by cultivators was state and municipally owned and undertaken with his permission and written authorisation. These were not forms of cultivation undertaken by co-operatives, but rather by individuals. He concludes that ownership of land is the key factor determining the legality of U A in Harare. The final authority used to substantiate that U A can be legally undertaken in Harare came from a Speech given by the Honourable Deputy Minister Mr. Chindori- Chininga (who in 2001 was deputy minister for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) during the Urban Agriculture workshop on U A information, training and communication needs (June 20, 2001). He encouraged participants to work with the framework that exists, especially pronouncements that are not incorporated into policies yet. From secondary sources, there appears to have been several appeals from central government over the years that urged the City of Harare to address U A (Martin et al. 2000, Mbiba 1995). While no legal framework exists to address U A specifically, there does seem to be sufficient provisions, and also government directives (much like the one used in 1985 that encouraged municipalities to form co-operatives, mentioned in chapter four) to allow some manoeuvrability on the part of local planners. It should be emphasised that planners are not decision-makers, and therefore they can not be entirely held accountable, as all final decisions lie with City Councils. It is difficult to determine exactly where the apathy, unwillingness and lack of agency rests within the City. 132 Interviews with other planners and city and central government professionals provide some further reflections to consider. During an interview with another planner working with the City, he inferred that the accommodation and legalisation of U A was being held up at the local level, even within the Department of Planning. It was his opinion that the City had become preoccupied with routine operations and had forgotten about strategic planning and that it was in the hands of the Acting Town planner to initiate the planning process. A proposal to develop a plan for U A was not receiving the importance that he thought it should. Because he was not in charge of strategic planning, he said he could not move on it himself, although he thinks it should be a priority as urban cultivation was an annual 'problem' (Interview, October 13, 2000). Another City staff member in the Department of Housing and Community services felt that there was lack of 'proper planning on the issue' of UA. Others reflected that the City Council was directly implicated in not allowing U A to thrive as a legitimate economic activity. Two co-operative officers within the Department of Housing, who were well versed on the history of UA, confirmed that City Council had no coherent policy on U A and no bylaws to address it (personal communication, November 9, 2000). In addition, the opinion of the District Officer for Agritex in 2001 was that the municipality needed to clarify its position on U A (Interview, August 22, 2001). An NRB staff member felt that U A needed political support to get it organised and supported and this required City Council and councillors to be proactive in their constituencies, and to interact with their respective Members of Parliament (personal communication, September 14, 2001). Agritex had also reported that bureaucratic barriers have constrained co-operation with the City Council in providing their U A extension services in the city. Every time the extension worker wants to visit an area, Agritex must first get the permission of City Council. As these above examples show, enhanced co-operation and effective co-ordination are key areas to be strengthened within the City. There was also considerable evidence that a clear delegation of authority within the City to address U A was lacking and/or breaking down, in addition to a lack of co-ordination and co-operation between staff, departments and officials. As noted in the section on channels available for access to legal UA, several options that were given by 133 City staff were actually no longer viable options. These include the opportunity to register with the Department of Housing, to form a co-op, or get permission from your local district housing officer. And further, there seems to be little knowledge of these access points between the various staff. An insider confided that they had been witnessing a deterioration of how the governance structures work for over the past four years. In 1997, City Council established an Urban Agriculture Committee, but this was discontinued just seven months later. As the Acting Town Planner indicated, not much came out of it, as it had no real focus (personal communication, December 14, 2000). There had also been no representation from the Town Planning Department on the committee (UA Committee meeting minutes, 1998). Two co-operative officers who possessed unique insider perspectives on the situation within the City, believed that stakeholders had never come together to agree on U A policy, or determine what the way forward on U A should be. It was their opinion that these groups do not share the same interest, yet, Council on its own can not develop policy on U A without the involvement of these groups. With these visible signs of institutional and governance structures breaking down, and no clear channel for people to obtain land for UA, it is no wonder that cultivators are mistrustful, cynical, and resisting the calls to abstain from cultivation on open spaces. Even after hearing the Acting City planner tell them that legal U A practice might be possible for the women I worked with (UA Stakeholder Forum, December 14, 2000), during later meetings, the women expressed their reservations and proclaimed "the City Council will never allow it". Unfortunately, with such deterioration in governance structures,15 there are now serious cases of land grabbing and conflict emerging in the fields. These are not the only examples of governance problems. In February of 1999, the City Council was removed and replaced with nine Commissioners appointed by the Central Government. The Central Government has authority under the Urban Councils Act to suspend elected councillors and mayors if there is evidence of mismanagement, corruption etc, which precipitated the removals in 1999. In addition, 28 other senior officers had also been suspended, including the Director of Works (under which the Department of Planning falls under), and the Town Planner (hence the reference to the Acting Town Planner throughout this chapter). The ability to make citywide decisions on issues of local policy was severely restrained by the pervasiveness of the suspensions across local government bodies. Further, several people indicated that it constrained their ability to carry out their work efficiently. The commission remained in place until municipal elections were finally called in 2001 whereby almost all elected councillors were members of the opposition party creating further tensions between central government and 134 IMPACTS O F L E G A L A M B I G U I T Y O N W H A T HAPPENS O N T H E G R O U N D Land Conflicts While previous descriptions about the social networks and land tenure customs used by older women may sound very altruistic and peaceful, there were also stories and events that spoke of conflicts in the fields. Land conflicts are emerging in the open spaces of Harare because residents are left to resolve access rights to land they do not own. Mrs. Nthwana shared her personal story about a recent confrontation. She and Mrs. Bushu went to look for land at the beginning of the cultivation season and visited a Mozambican man who works in one of the larger fields in the area. It was well known that he often has a few patches for lease, as he spends the entire day at the fields waiting to be hired to plough other people's fields, and has even constructed a makeshift shelter for himself on site. This man will only lease a plot to someone on the condition that he is hired to also plough the field. On the day they spoke with him, he took them to a plot that was not cultivated and told them where to stake out their areas. When the two women returned the following day with their hoes, another woman came and claimed it. The two women went to confront the man, but he only told them that the woman who claimed the land was lying. Believing the woman's story, Mrs. Nthwana said he was "double and triple timing people" (Interview, June 6, 2001). This was one of the few stories where men who have fields, or access to fields was discussed. This man apparently created a job for himself, overseeing the activity of land use and carving a role for himself within this land tenure network. It is also interesting to note the contrasts between values. As Mrs. Nthwana reflected, "There are a lot of unemployed people, mostly men. It is men who hang around fields asking for work- but they don't necessarily have their own fields. Especially now, they are starting to do winter planting. Men do this. Very few men have fields. Most of the men that go are helping women- most fields belong to women" (Ibid). the capital City of Harare. In A p r i l 2003 the elected mayor of Harare was suspended central government. As recently as of September 2004, the Central Government is poised to re-instate another commission after half of the Councillors resigned in protest of Central Government involvement in Council affairs (Ncube 2004). These suspensions and protests at the local level are indicative of the very contentious political atmosphere within Zimbabwe. It also demonstrates the conflictual relationships that can occur between state and local authorities, and how party politics can impact on governance. See Goromonzi 19—, Makumbe 1996 and Mbiba 1995 for discussions on central-local dynamics in Zimbabwe. 135 Before the colonial occupation of Zimbabwe, agricultural labour was divided between men and women, and it was the men who were responsible for ploughing. It has only been since that time, when men had to leave their rural homesteads for paid employment that women began to take on all agricultural activities, including ploughing. Such stories reveal the forms of manipulation and control that other actors have in the informal tenure system and how women and men differ in their ways of doing things, and the types of networks that they have created. Again, this dynamic is in flux as the 1990s have witnessed many more people, and men, entering urban farming. However, more aggressive and even violent tactics are being used now to obtain urban fields. One of the women I worked with said that a woman was killed a few years ago when two women fought over a small plot. Truth or urban legend? I do not know. A store clerk told me his mother lost her land in Glen Norah in 2001 when 'war vets' took over an area near their homes. He said his mother and others were too fearful to do anything about it, so she had to just abandon her field. This is often referred to as land grabbing. Another form of land grabbing took place that involved a community based organisation (CBO) from Budiriro known as the Musikavanhu Project. The organisation was actively engaging in open space cultivation as a means to addressing food security and poverty16. They presented at the U A workshop, the same workshop where two of the women I worked with presented and attended. The director, an outspoken man who was leading this group with a membership of 99% women, told me that they fought to take the land from those who were already farming the open spaces in 1999 (This was revealed during a field trip I organised for the women and myself to learn more about their community and organisation). It seemed that the rights of the previous farmers to use the open spaces near this newer development in Budiriro was challenged by the new residents whose homes were built next to the fields. The CBO seemed to operate on assumptions and values different from those of the women I worked with. Due to the proximity of these open spaces to the newer homes, the new residents, and members of the CBO believed they had more rights to the use of these lands. During our tour of their community and the surrounding open spaces, the director said that his group engaged in a 1 6 The group had several objectives, two of which were: A. Empowerment of the urban voiceless especially women. B. Organise and re-organise urban farmers. 136 two to three month confrontation with the original farmers, that they even fought with their hoes. He was very casual about telling me this, which took me by surprise as I imagined that this is the kind of information local people would try to obscure from outsiders. He said that they tried to encourage the original farmers to join their group and while most did not, there were a few who did. The fields in question could have easily been lands tilled by the women I worked with. This example shows the kinds of conflicts emerging between the rights of those who developed the urban land tenure system in the fields, and those who are new comers living in homes in close proximity to open spaces. This CBO demonstrates a contrasting example of acquiring access to land, and organising than the methods used by the women I worked with. As identified in table 6.2, Musikavanhu Project acquired permission to use the open spaces from City Council. Given the violent nature of the land acquisition (or dispossession) used by Musikavanhu, the City Council should be questioned as to why it gave permission to use land to groups that have forcefully displaced current cultivators, even though that land was not 'legally' owned by either group. The conflict was confirmed by two co-operative officers I spoke with in November of 2000 who thought these events would make a worthy case study of land conflicts that were starting to occur. One of the platforms Musikavanhu uses to garner official support is to adopt the banner of 'Organised Urban Agriculture' (OUA) to describe their form of using open spaces and organising as a 'community'. And they have been quite successful in their efforts to get assistance from official channels. In addition to garnering permission from the City Council to use the land, Musikavanhu also received the patronage of the then Deputy Minister of Environment, technical and input support from the multinational agribusiness Monsanto, Farm and City (a large retail operation), as well as from others. Other agencies and donors have shown open support of Musikavanhu, and whether they are aware or not, their support has legitimised Musikavanhu's tactics and methods of organising. The application of the term 'OUA" also becomes very confrontational because Musikavanhu has self-defined what they do as being organised, and what everyone else, is doing, the status quo, as 'unorganised'. The term 'OUA' has the effect of de-legitimising other forms of organisation, like the kinds of organisation established 1 3 7 by older women through social networks and co-operation in their communities. With local authorities who are preoccupied with 'organising' and 'controlling' UA, the formal and co-ordinated support for groups like Musikavanhu might be able to appropriate other people's access to land for UA. It seems very problematic, even unlawful, that supporters of farming groups like Musikavanhu are overlooking how their assistance might be legitimising land grabbing, and violence under this banner of "Organised Urban Agriculture". This area of conflict in the open spaces of Harare greatly concerns me as it also plays into the designs of planners and decision-makers who are preoccupied with control and order. I empathised with the women I worked with when they declined offers to join this group. The women were left with a poor impression and it made them more firm in their desire to work as a smaller group and "do our own project". One of the women reflected on the way the community leader operated and said, "He moved so fast, we would get lost" (Interview, July 11, 2001). They have experience and wisdom to see the unsavoury sides to 'organised' urban agriculture being offered to them. Their ways of accessing land are in direct conflict with the methods used by Musikavanhu. Aware of the women's preferred ways of organising and working, I understood why the lure of free seeds, training and possible private-public partnerships were not enough to attract them to the promise of this group's mission. As one of the women said during our field trip debriefing meeting, "We are organised". As I heard during a number of interviews, U A is sometimes viewed as a 'problem', often because it is perceived to be 'unorganised' and people will just cultivate anywhere. While some may blame the cultivators for this 'disorganisation', I would assert that these observations of 'unorganised' U A mirror the perceptions that people have of institutional structures and processes that have become more 'disorganised', unstable, and unresponsive to current conditions and people's needs. As senior researcher Nelson Marongwe pointed out during his discussion of ZERO'S (a regional environmental NGO) research on conflicts over land and other natural resources in Zimbabwe, there are no appropriate local institutions in place to deal with conflicts, and further, there is no land management system (UA Stakeholder Forum, September 14, 2001). 138 While I am open here about my concerns, I want to make it clear too, that I am not against Musikavanhu as a community based organisation. It is inspiring to see people come together to improve the conditions in their communities, especially during such difficult conditions. My concerns are with the process by which Musikavanhu acquired their lands, the messages that are sent to other citizens when land grabbing seems supported by elites, and how a platform to advocate 'Organised Urban Agriculture' in the current context of Harare can marginalise those whose forms of organisation are less obvious and historically overlooked and unacknowledged. Finally, and more importantly, the permission granted to use land gained from such practices is a clear indication of poor 'good governance' on the part of City Council. SOSC AS P R O T E S T T O POOR G O V E R N A N C E IN H A R A R E : Women From Highfield Speak Out On Local Governance Reflections on Land Use During a focus group session we had on access to land, the women were in agreement that there just simply was no land because people are building where they are cultivating and that all the land is owned, "you can't get it". Their thoughts and reflections showed that they understood the perspectives of the City well, and they understood the land was not theirs but belonged to the City, or to private land owners. I heard things such as: • "The city is expanding and people are building where we were cultivating before". • "The land is not ours, it is the City Councils and the city is taking it and putting structures on it". • "If you cultivate close to the roads, the City will cut the maize. On most land, cultivation is not allowed\ • "There just isn't any land anymore unless people give up the land they are not using". • "Some people are cultivating on land already owned by someone else". • "Things are very difficult, the city slashes maize in open spaces, we want to request Council not to slash open spaces. We know when we are doing wrong. People are desperate that is why they cultivate in those areas". 139 •:• "They will never allow people to cultivate in town, it is not orderly. Don't know where to cultivate maize, at corners it creates blind spots, thieves hide, City Council will never allow if. The women also had knowledge that stream bank cultivation was not permitted. They understand the pressures within the city because they live in the high-density areas and have first hand experience of what it is like to live there from day to day. What is interesting to me is that over all these years, the lands that they cultivate must have changed hands, yet they are never told of such land transactions. Women have few opportunities to own land in Zimbabwe and therefore, if the City sells off state and municipal land, this creates less opportunities for that land to be utilised by the majority who will never be able to participate in rising urban real-estate markets. Market and real-estate driven urban planning is one of the most blatant mechanisms of excluding the poor within planning. Even those who have City permission to cultivate, like Musikavanhu, have no entitlement that will protect them from land being taken for other purposes. Participation & Representation Figure 6.1 No Opportunities for Participation Question: Have there been opportunities for yourselves or people in the community to be involved in decisions, changes in your community, or plans for your neighbourhood? "People don't even know us, they don't consult us." "They never ask people to give their perceptions on things." "They never call anyone." "What you are talking about, we have never been involved." "Council never consults anyone about fields, that's why if we find an open space, we will just cultivate it." "Budiriro 1 and 5 have been given land from their Councilor, our Councilor doesn't go to the city on our behalf." "When the MP was campaigning, he gave out 500 dollars to start up a project." Focus Group Discussion, December 2000. Box one represents the beginning of a focus group meeting with the Highfield women when we discussed the topic of public participation in December of 2000. Many different ideas and information are revealed in just this short exchange. It is made clear 140 right up front that they had not been included in decision making in their communities. They refer to Councillors and City staff as those who are not seeking their input, or even advocating on their behalf, like Councillors from other areas do. In other areas, they have heard Councillors and MPs have supported projects and provided land to their constituents. But not the MP or Councillor in their ward. As one woman explains, if the Council is not going to consult them about their cultivation, then the women are going to occupy what open spaces they find. And the women acknowledge the use of vote buying by campaigning MPs. These ideas are expanded upon as the discussion progresses. Figure 6.2 Reasons Why Women are Not Consulted Question: Why do you think people, like yourselves, are not consulted by decision-makers? "We are so pained that these people we elected never consult us, so painful that we are never consulted." "All they say is 'don't cultivate' in urban areas, but we do." "We wish we had someone to air our grievances. It's unfortunate that we don't have a representative, but there is no one available." Question: Why are you left out? "When people are running for election, they say they are going to address our concerns, but when they get elected they just focus on their families." "One time when I went to Zengeza to attend a funeral of a brother... there was a ballot box but there was no one to vote for. I refused to vote. Councilor was giving jobs to family instead of youth. Those in power don't care about us." "I don't know how these people do it, you hear about prices going up, for food, they do what they want, raise prices- don't consult us." Question: Why do you think they do not inform you? "That is a difficult question." "It's the councilors, our representatives that are not coming back to us. They are so carefree- never come back to us." "When our councilors go to their meetings, they never come back to the people". "If you even talk about cultivation, they will tell you to go to the rural area" "There are some who cultivate legally- they have a tractor and are a co-operative" Focus Group Discussion, December 2000. 141 It is clear from their comments that councilors are viewed as their only spokesperson and yet, they are upset with the lack of accountability their elected representatives demonstrate.18 As one woman expresses, "We are so pained that these people we elected never consult us". This passage echoes the idea in the other passages suggesting that despite the authorities telling them not to cultivate, they do anyway. A second form of protest is suggested by the woman who said she would not vote as 'there was no one to vote for" because those in power do not care about them. They express their concern that their elected officials are only serving their own needs and using their positions to assist their own families instead of those who elected them. One of the women says that they would like to have someone represent them but there is no one available. This was a very charged discussion and you could feel their frustration, anger and disappointment. We then asked the group how they would like to be involved. Figure 6.3 Uncovering Ways to Promote Support Question: How would you like to be involved? "Representatives, when they find something attractive, they call their relatives to benefit" "Before slashing our maize, they should call us" "They won't listen to that because they tell us not to cultivate, but concerning our rates and such, they should call us" "Rates are high- we worked hard to extend our homes" "They always send us bills but never tell us when they are going to raise rates" "In the past, you could take your bill to Rowen Martin. If bill was high they would take it and complain and they'd look into it, maybe even cut it. Not now, no where to take it, sometimes they send the bill without even taking a reading" "Why would rates go higher when we have title deeds? Can understand it for electricity." "Sometimes we don't have bins (for garbage) even though it is part of the rates we pay" "I stay in a hozi (the name of the structure where grain is stored) and my daughter who stays in Ashdown (a medium- low density suburb), and I'm paying more. Question: In regards to cultivation- how would you like to be involved? "They already put up banners to not cultivate" "It would be wonderful if they would consult us on cultivation" Focus Group Discussion, December 2000. In a recent study, lack of contact between people and their elected representatives was examined. In only 8 districts (15%) in Zimbabwe did people report having seen their elected representative (councillor or MP) in the past month (FOSENET Food Security Network 2004, 12) 142 In this passage, the women express their needs to be consulted when decisions are made that effect them. Some women want to be told before the City comes to slash maize. Two women respond to these suggestions and say the City has been clear that they do not want them to cultivate. This confirms the effectiveness of the City in spreading the myth that U A is illegal. Others discuss that they want to be informed when the services they pay for (rates) are going to go up. One woman talks about the changes in service provisions, noting how the deterioration in services has meant they have no one to address their grievances with, nor is there anyone to be held accountable for the fact bills are sent to them without metre readings being taken. These are areas that effect these women's lives daily. Recalling Mrs. Bushu's stress over how high her bills were (see chapter four), these women have every right to be angry that no one bothers to discuss basic service provisioning, like water, electricity and garbage disposal. One of the woman points out the injustice that she should be paying more than her daughter who lives in one of the wealthier neighbourhoods.19 It seems quite inappropriate that those with low incomes are paying higher rates than those who are in higher income brackets. Figure 6.4 Ideas of Women on being Consulted and Involved in U A Policies Scenario: The City Council has decided to consider legalising urban cultivation in the city. They would like to consult and include the cultivators in deciding how to go about the process of planning for urban cultivation. What do you think the City Council should do to get you involved? "They would never do it- we have our councilors, they go to meetings, they never tell us what the decisions are, what the proceedings are about" "I wouldn't want a public meeting- too noisy" "It would be better to have our own representative to represent us. If it is possible, we could have other people- maybe six representatives who attend meetings and then they can come back and give us feedback" "All along we had the party to give our grievances but never gave us feed back- but for you in your research, you can go to the city and express our concerns" "Perhaps we can take the findings to the councilor- but they just got elected so the Council is not functional yet." Focus Group Discussion, say date here December 2000. 1 9 It did not go beyond my attention that there was a discrepancy between the amounts these women were paying for water and what my roommates and I paid for our large four-bedroom house in the low-density areas. 143 In one focus group, I and my research assistants posed the above scenario to the women to elicit their views on how they could be more involved in setting U A policies. In this discussion, there was one outspoken woman who started off the conversation by rejecting any possibility that U A might be legalised by the City. She could not imagine it. The first comment in box three re-iterates that their councilors have not been reliable representatives as they attend meetings but never tell the people in their constituencies what decisions have been made that are going to affect them. One woman states her preference not to hold public meetings for consultation purposes. The women put the idea forward that I might represent them in Council , and share the results of the research on their behalf. The women seem comfortable with having representation. They want representatives who w i l l be accountable and who w i l l demonstrate that they are doing their jobs by coming back to them. Several of the women discuss the possibility of having even more than one representative who would speak on their behalf. The women are well aware of the responsibilities the Councilors have, which they are not fulfilling. From these discussions, as well as others, the women had very insightful and well articulated points of view to share. When two representatives from this group were selected to attend the first stakeholder forum in December of 2000, these women had the chance to sit immediately across the table from the Acting Town Planner and discuss their concerns in a small group setting. The women were very direct and specific in requesting information. However, the Acting Town Planner, while very sympathetic, did not really respond directly. First of al l , she advised them to go to the Department of Housing to see i f they could get land. A s noted already, this channel was no longer available at this time, yet the Acting Town Planner must not have been aware. Second, In an E N D A workshop held in 1996 (ENDA 1996), women cultivators were asked why they had not established cooperatives. The women responded by saying they had approached the Ministry of Lands, but the ministry could not clearly outline the proper channels to be followed. Therefore, they gave up this idea and continued with their old practice of using council land" (ibid. 10). 144 the Acting Town Planner advised the group that "strong organisations can get access to be heard by government". As an example of a strong organisation, she mentioned the recently formed tuckshop organisation that gained access to decision-makers quite easily. Similar to the Muskikavanhu Project, they spoke of how as a group, Council now had a direct contact to communicate with them. However, as pointed out in chapter four, and by the women's comments in this chapter, the Highfield women are organised, it is just that their groups are not acknowledged, or ignored. What the Acting Planner seems to be suggesting is that people need to form more 'formal' organisations, with 'strong' leadership. However, where do residents and cultivators and these women get the resources, energy and time to create these organisations? Who do they get support from? How do they find it? My efforts to access support for this group of seven women took resources and time; it took a lot of phone calls and visits to offices in the City Centre and beyond, and yet we still found no support. It is not a simple exercise to form groups, organise and get support, especially in Harare's repressive political climate. Further, there are forms of organisation already in communities, through churches, volunteer work, social networks, and even resident associations in some neighbourhoods. Why must the onus be on the women when they elect Councilors and MPs to represent them, and they already see themselves as being organised among themselves? Instead of tackling the issues related to lack of accountability and transparency in local government, these women are told it is them who must do something about it, it is they who need to change. It was not revealed who was representing the tuckshop organisation, but it was clear that Musikavanhu was being led by a man who was traveling the city, meeting with NGOs, media people, and private sector businesses to garner the support he gained for his group. Male leaders like him have more time and energy to devote to networking with formal political institutions and they often get more respect and credibility in the eyes of local power wielders, who are almost always also male. There are gender considerations to consider, one of which is to understand the different forms of organisation between men and women, but also the psychological and cultural barriers women face when trying to represent themselves and their interests. The findings in this research suggest that there are barriers that women and their organisations face in being publicly seen or recognised 145 as 'organised' and as worthy of support for their initiatives. These women wanted to work as a smaller group, because as a big group, it becomes more difficult to 'organise', to listen and be heard. Getting more than ten people working together to make decisions and organise can be very challenging. Furthermore, forming an organisation to speak on behalf of all cultivators sounds antithetical to the needs these women express to have accountable representation that will understand their needs. The literature has alluded to many forms of U A taking place in Harare, by various income groups, genders, social associations, cultures, races and age groups. There is no clarity on what the shared needs or interests would be across such a diverse population. Such recommendations end up shifting the accountability from the City's shoulders onto their constituents, and is a clear sign that all is not well at the City of Harare. CLOSING Due to the predominance of women in SOSC and the shifting demographics of participants since the mid 1990s, conceptual clarity and better understanding of the diverse stakeholders are warranted. Do we understand what various groups of women are really asking for? Do these groups understand what the implications are for them if U A is 'formalised' and 'legalised' without their involvement? Can we not let them speak for themselves? The women in this research talked about representation, working the land 'without fear', and gaining resources to sustain their activities. Previous chapters, as well as this one, have shown how women use their influence within and outside households to sustain their livelihoods and families. They have done these in spite of the fact that women have not held any 'formal' positions in sites of official power, such as in City Councils and even within academic and NGO forums on UA. While many of the ideas and contributions of men interviewed, especially the city planners and academics, are supportive of UA, these can not preclude discussion on how spaces for women, including women practitioners, (which must include older 'original' cultivators) can be found for women to speak for themselves. Policies will not be successful, nor will they respect the gender, age, class and cultural needs and dimensions of UA, without creating processes for such involvement. 146 If women are using their identities as mothers and food providers, how is this different from the past, or different from what women are doing in rural areas? It seems important to understand how these women conceptualise their understandings and use of motherhood and food providers in the urban context. One reason we must be so careful in not making assumptions about identities or appeals to motherhood in particular, is that these have been the same identities that nationalist patriarchs, donor agencies with welfare and efficiency approaches have manipulated to bring dubious benefits to women through 'development' and 'progress' (Sylvester 2000). Some feminist academics warn that affirmations of motherhood and positive female experiences of nurturing can create traps, and might contribute to the reproduction of patriarchal prescriptions (Lewis 2003, Bakare-Yusef 2003, McFadden 2002). Others, such as Amadiume and Oyewumi, conceptualise motherhood as a symbolic core of a powerful female subject (Bakare-Yusef 2003). If we want to find empowering ways for women to create, retain or change cultural and social behaviours and roles that elevate and honour their contributions, and provide them with power to make their own choices, then we need to better understand how women and men understand themselves, and how culture plays a role. This would not just benefit research on U A and governance, but it would have applicability in many areas that are important to human societies and settlements. Yes, SOSC is a policy issue, but it is also a governance issue that may have imbedded within it a symbolic struggle over cultural identities and human rights, and these should be explored in our attempts to develop gender sensitive policies and decision making on U A and SOSC in Harare. 'Organised' or 'orderly' procedures do not equal gender sensitive policy making on SOSC. We need to go beyond predicating the inclusion of U A in Harare based on perceptions of orderliness or its organised appearance on the ground. We need to recognise the 'formal' and 'informal' forms of organisation by women who see themselves as already organised. What we should be also more concerned about is what is happening with the local governance structures in Harare, in the district offices, in communities, and the cultural implications these have for women and men. It has been made quite clear by all stakeholders, and the analysis of legal access channels for UA, that there is serious disorganisation and lack of clarity on protocols, as well as obstacles that have been pervasive for many years. Perhaps one of the most illuminating documents 147 on U A in Harare is ENDA's (1996) Urban Agriculture in Zimbabwe: realities and prospects because it so poignantly shares the voices of women cultivators in stark contrast to some of the male professionals from municipalities and councils across the country. It was identified in their document that some women actually did not want policy as they "viewed it as a form of interference and oppression" (ibid. 16). One Glen View women stated "Policy makers or those in command seem to deliberately create confusion and hamper us practitioners" (ibid. 22). It is time that such insightful views from women cultivators are taken into account. 148 CHAPTER VII Women, Planning & Power: Grounds for Insurgency INTRODUCTION The real substance behind many policies is what one sees practised on the ground. As the preceding chapters demonstrate, women's culture or practice of non-conformity with national and local policies that are oppressive and authoritarian is exemplified by their exercise of agency and resourcefulness, especially in their urban cultivation practices. Urban women through their hoes symbolically and physically etched their histories into the urban landscape, tilling narratives of women's agency throughout pre-and post independent Zimbabwe. The practice and narratives of cultivation have gained momentum since its early days, and there are greater numbers of men and women producing food from their urban plots which they do not even own. The practice of planning for urban cultivation is imbedded with various power dynamics. In this chapter, I explore some of these power dynamics in relation to city planning in Harare in an effort to encourage more attention to the politics of planning, as well as to the possibilities for shifting into alternative new ways of 'planning' for urban agriculture and SOSC. PLANNING IN T H E U A L I T E R A T U R E Planners and the practice of planning according to the U A literature, have impeded the forging of constructive, accommodating, innovative and positive changes for integrating U A into policies. For many cities, particularly post-colonial cities in Africa, a transference of 'modern' or 'European' town planning practices to emerging urban centres has contributed to the retention of non-democratic and inflexible policies on urban farming. Smit, Ratta and Nasr (1996, 213) explain, Planning and cultural attitudes and the colonial heritage have resulted in policy, administrative and legal hurdles for urban agriculture in most low-income countries...In colonial times, farming and animal husbandry in urban areas were 149 prohibited in most sub Saharan countries. These laws and regulations continue unchanged in most countries today, with many farmers facing harassment from government authorities as well as landowners. The formation of informal settlements, street hawking and urban cultivation are predominant in many urban centres in economically poor countries, creating a contrary reality than that envisioned by the proponents of modernisation (Sanyal 1987), including planners. Planners and city officials often have negative attitudes toward U A and in particular towards low-income groups and 'the poor' who are engage in urban farming. These negative attitudes re-enforce their resistance to the use of land for agricultural purposes. Ideological biases against U A are also apparent in models of urban land use that are based on assumptions derived from economic theory (Lee-Smith and Memon 1994, 71). U A is seldom considered a form of development in many cities, which precludes it being acknowledged or integrated into land development policies, whether it is in La Paz (Kreinecker 2000), Nairobi (Foeken and Mwangi 2000, Lee-Smith and Lamba 1998), Kampala (Atukunda 1998), or Cairo (Gertel and Samir 2000, Egziabher's 1994). The ability of cities to provide land for U A involves addressing land ownership patterns within the country and city (Smit, Ratta and Nasr 1996), which requires a restructuring of power relations between class, ethnic, race and income groups. In his research in Lusaka, Zambia, Sanyal (1985) asserts that "bringing about changes in official attitudes towards urban cultivation and formulating new policies to encourage it are not easy tasks. There are interested social groups who benefit from the rising price of urban land, and they are bound to object to policies that will not contribute to property inflation." In Dar es Salaam, Kitilla and Mlambo (2001) indicate that the poor have being selling their land to the wealthy as they do not possess the resources to develop it themselves. Agricultural lands in the cities of Lima and Kathmandu are being threatened by residential development interests of wealthier and privileged sectors of the population (Dasso and Pinzas 2000, Weise and Boyd 2001). In Jakarta, ninety per cent of land currently used for U A is owned by real-estate developers, or the central or local governments, and, concern is expressed that land will give way to real estate development when the economy picks up again (Purnomohadi 2000,458). 150 Research on U A in Accra, Ghana provide detail