Kumusha and masalads: (inter)generational foodways and urban food security in Zimbabwe

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Springer Nature
Understandings of urban foodways in Zimbabwe and other African countries have been dominated by food security frameworks. The focus on material scarcity and measurable health outcomes within these frameworks has often obscured the socio-cultural dimension of foodways and the historical and political structures that have shaped, and continue to shape, everyday relationships with food among different groups of urban residents in cities. Addressing these often-overlooked aspects, this paper looks at intergenerational contestations over foodways in a midsized high-density Zimbabwean town. Presenting results of 6-months ethnographic fieldwork involving participant observation and semi-structured interviews, the paper explores meanings and practices of food in a postcolonial urban setting using three generational groups as a point of departure. These groups are youth (aged 15 to 25 years old), a post-independence generation (aged 26 to 43) and a pre-independence middle-aged generation (aged 43 to 65). Findings show that foodways of the three generations, each having experienced Zimbabwe’s (post-)colonial political economy in different ways, are negotiated through postcolonial socio-ecological relations, urban–rural connections and social hierarchies articulated through urban and rural space. The paper concludes that to understand urban food security in a postcolonial setting, urbanites’ generation-specific life experiences and intergenerational negotiations around historically situated spatial and socio-ecological relations should be considered. The findings could inform urban food security policy to make it more targeted towards the needs of different generational groups as well as more attuned to urbanites’ dynamic socio-cultural foodways and the socio-ecological relations that shape these.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2002, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-022-10393-4 . Keywords: urban food security; food sovereignty; foodways; generation; Zimbabwe.
Brouwer, S.F. Kumusha and masalads: (inter)generational foodways and urban food security in Zimbabwe. Agric Hum Values 40, 761–775 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10393-4