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Dr Wesley Mwatwara

Home country: Zimbabwe

Year of enrolment: 2011

Graduation date: April 2014

Department:  History

Supervisor:  Prof Sandra Swart

Dissertation title: A history of state veterinary services and African livestock regimes in colonial Zimbabwe, c. 1896-1980

Abstract: This thesis explores the relationship between African traditional livestock regimes and state veterinary services in colonial Zimbabwe from the perspective of socio-environmental history. It offers a new direction both methodologically and empirically as few academic studies have used state veterinary services archives extensively as a lens to understanding the parameters of the interaction of veterinarians and African livestock owners during the colonial period. Though located in socio-environmental history, this study has applicability to the histories of medicine, conservation and land policy as it connects with the broader debate regarding the experiences of local healing practices under colonial administrations. It examines the complex, fluid and interactive interdependence of people, livestock and disease, and discusses how veterinary medicine, conservation policies, and introduced epizootics impacted on African traditional livestock regimes. It demonstrates how African livestock owners reacted to veterinary challenges, and how they understood veterinary and environmental arguments mobilized by the colonial state to justify segregation. It shows that state veterinary services were not limited to pharmacological drugs and the administration of inoculants but also extended to breeding and other livestock improvement activities such as pasture management. It argues that the provision of state veterinary services was largely influenced by the shifting, contradictory relationship involving the state, native commissioners and white settlers. Given the fractured nature of colonial administration in Southern Rhodesia, this thesis also discusses conflicts between colonial experts (veterinary and animal scientists) and African livestock owners over what type of cattle to rear, how they were to be pastured, and also how epizootics and enzootics could be eradicated or controlled. Key Words: conservation; African livestock regimes; veterinary medicine, local healing practices; dipping; therapeutics; acaricides; centralisation; socio-environmental history; liberation war; Zimbabwe; Southern Rhodesia; Rhodesia.

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