IDENTITY AND EXCLUSION IN THE POST-WAR ERA: ZIMBABWE’S WOMEN FORMER FREEDOM FIGHTERS
This study examines how demobilisation and reintegration processes affected the roles and status of women ex-combatants after the liberation war in Zimbabwe. The success of post-war demobilisation and reintegration depends on the formulation and implementation of programmes that recognise the contributions of women and treat them as a differentiated mass with specific aspirations. In disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) processes after most wars, the roles of women in the conflicts and their post-war needs are ignored or not adequately addressed. Their critical roles and contributions in the conflict and its resolution are rarely recognised. The vital contribution that women fighters made in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle between 1962 and 1979 has gone largely unsung. Through extensive interviews with female ex-combatants, this article argues that the absence of a gender-sensitive demobilisation and reintegration policy resulted in the marginalisation and exclusion of women ex-combatants in the military, social, political and professional spheres. What then, it asks, are the lessons that can be learnt from Zimbabwe’s experience of demobilisation and reintegration?