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Title: Conflict transformation through music and dance : the case of Mkoba, in Gweru, Zimbabwe
Authors: Mutero, Innocent Tinashe 
Issue Date: 2017

Zimbabwe has a history of violence stretching back to the pre-colonial period. The country gained political independence in 1980 after a protracted armed war with the illegal Smith regime. The liberation movement, under whose banner independence was gained, has carried over and almost normalised the cultures of obliterating difference, muting dissent, cronyism and systematic economic marginalisation of citizens. Incidences of ethnic, religious inter- and intra-political party violence, and individualism are rife. As a result, most of the local conflicts experienced in Zimbabwe are symptomatic ‘electoral conflicts’ fuelled by political competition and polarisation, leading to economic collapse and social fragmentation (Ncube 2014, Heal Zimbabwe Trust 2015: 5). The conflicts have arguably weakened Zimbabwe’s strongest attributes and institutions, which include the church, the family unit and good-neighbourliness.

This thesis aims to show how conflict transformation can be brought about in the Mkoba community, using Participatory Action Research. It engages a select group of musically gifted citizens into establishing a cosmopolitan music and dance ensemble with a view to strengthening the community’s social capital and improving the quality of life of the residents. The study therefore brings out how music and dance, and by extension participatory performing arts, can serve humanity as a platform to initiate dialogue and cooperation among conflicting residents. In addition, the study details how entertaining and interactive gatherings in broken communities have the power to heal residents psychologically, replacing pessimism and lassitude with optimism and a proactive approach. Unique to this multi-disciplinary study is its binding together of theories concerning music for social change, social entrepreneurship and asset-based community development, all of which are undergirded by conflict transformation. This ethnographic account suggests how to develop and sustain community-based organisations and/or activities using the holistic sustainability frame, which emphasizes the importance of artistic vibrancy, community relevance, capitalisation and good governance. This holistic and eclectic approach thus creates an organic platform through which the community can act for social change.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration: Peace Studies, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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