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The Mobile WorkshopThe Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production$
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Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262535021

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262535021.001.0001

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How Vanhu Managed Tsetse

How Vanhu Managed Tsetse

(p.29) 1 How Vanhu Managed Tsetse
The Mobile Workshop

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

The MIT Press

This chapter shows that vanhu vatema understood mobility as the centerpiece of their interactions with the insect. It commences from a view of vatema's management of mhesvi as a site of innovation, illustrating the centrality of mobility in interactions between vanhu and zvipukanana. The chapter strategically deploys the travel accounts of vachana writing in the nineteenth century about their encounters with people living with and despite mhesvi. The strategy herein is to read these travel accounts as acts of witnessing to, and confessions about, ruzivo rwemhesvi (knowledge of tsetse) among the people living in the lands between and along the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. The chapter maps mhesvi-infested areas and mhesvi management techniques—namely, forest clearance, selective culling of mhuka, strategic settlement of vanhu, use of repellents, movement by night, and inoculation. At the end of the day, African mhesvi management was about mobilities management.

Keywords:   vanhu vatema, mobility, tsetse fly, mhesvi, vatema, vachana, travel accounts, ruzivo rwemhesvi

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