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Transient WorkspacesTechnologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe$
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Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027243

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027243.001.0001

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Poaching as Criminalized Innovation

Poaching as Criminalized Innovation

(p.151) 6 Poaching as Criminalized Innovation
Transient Workspaces

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the criminalization of African poaching in the wake of emerging wildlife conservation regimes during the colonial period. More specifically, it considers how indigenous hunting was systematically suppressed as criminal acts that were informed by “absolute fatalism,” “pure cruelty,” and “without feeling whatever for animals.” In conservation, tourism, and state circles the poacher (mupocha) was seen as a criminal, but in the villages he was—and still is—a hero. Locally the colonial language of criminalization is derogatory and in breach of history; it is also interpreted as the valungu's (white man's) acknowledgment of maTshangana and vaShona's unyanzvi/vutivi of indigenous hunting. The criminalization of the hunt saw the formation of alliances between local hunting and forest practices and the activities of international ivory poachers and dealers; locals also refused to be of assistance to the state and park in shutting out incoming commercial actors. The valungu who came to hunt outside the law established alliances with local villagers in the form of marriages and deference to local culture.

Keywords:   criminalization, Africa, poaching, wildlife conservation, indigenous hunting, valungu, maTshangana, vaShona, poachers

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