“Groves provides a carefully researched and compelling history of Malawian contributions to Zimbabwe’s history. Her work illuminates how migrants successfully built a unique migrant culture in Harare. Groves presents a significant and compelling narrative of the key roles of many remarkable trade union and anti-colonial nationalists from Malawi in the establishment of Zimbabwe’s nationalist politics. A welcome revision of, and contribution to, the modern history of Central and Southern Africa.”
—Timothy Scarnecchia, Kent State University, USA
"This is the first book-length study of Malawian labour migration focusing on the experiences of those who travelled and those left behind, also unique for its focus on migration between Nyasaland/Malawi and Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (and particularly, Salisbury/Harare), contributing to a story long dominated by Malawi’s ties to South Africa. Groves makes an important contribution to a historiography of African migration often preoccupied with transoceanic movement into the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds."
—Joey Power, Ryerson University, Canada
This book explores the culture of migration that emerged in Malawi in the early twentieth century as the British colony became central to labour migration in southern Africa. Migrants who travelled to Zimbabwe stayed for years or decades, and those who never returned became known as machona – ‘the lost ones’. Through an analysis of colonial archives and oral histories, this book captures a range of migrant experiences during a period of enormous political change, including the rise of nationalist politics, and the creation and demise of the Central African Federation. Following migrants from origin to destination, and in some cases back again, this book explores gender, generation, ethnicity and class, and highlights life beyond the workplace in a racially segregated city. Malawian men and women shaped the culture and politics of urban Zimbabwe in ways that remain visible today. Ultimately, the voluntary movement of Africans within the African continent raises important questions about the history of diaspora communities and the politics of belonging in post-colonial Africa.
Zoë R. Groves is Lecturer in Modern Global, Colonial and Postcolonial History at the University of Leicester, UK, and Research Associate at Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg, South Africa.