Between Remorse and Nostalgia: Haunting Memories of War and the Search for Healing Among Former Zimbabwean Soldiers in Exile in South Africa

  • Godfrey MaringiraEmail author
  • Annemiek Richters
  • Lorena Núňez
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS, volume 24)


This chapter explores how former Zimbabwean soldiers who deserted or resigned from the Zimbabwe National Army journey between two seemingly contradictory spaces in search of healing: the space of camaraderie in the political association of the former soldiers in exile namely Affected Military Men of Zimbabwe Association (AMMOZA) and Pentecostal churches in Johannesburg where many of these former soldiers participate. In the former the men reaffirm their military past, keep it alive, and use it to justify who they are in their post-combat life in South Africa. In the churches, in contrast, the men are guided to reconstruct their perspective on the past in terms of expiating remorse and guilt and to obtain forgiveness, presuming that this will liberate them from the haunting effects of hope dzakaipa or ukucubungula meaning bad dreams. From the men’s narratives it emerges that to come to terms with their past and find some sort of reconciliation between their two contradictory perspectives in dealing with the past, the men would require political amnesty by the Zimbabwean government. This would ensure they would be recognised as former soldiers who served the nation and could reconcile with their families and friends, and openly present themselves to civilians. This chapter is primarily based on interviews with 10 of the 44 former soldiers who participated in a larger study on members of the Zimbabwean army who deserted or resigned and are in exile in South Africa.


Political Violence Evil Spirit Opposition Party Military Police Military Life 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Godfrey Maringira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Annemiek Richters
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lorena Núňez
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and SociologyUniversity of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Primary CareLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Amsterdam School for Social Science ResearchUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of SociologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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