A City Gone to the Dogs? Power, Modernity and Canine Citizens in Post-Colonial Harare, c.1980-2017

A City Gone to the Dogs? Power, Modernity and Canine Citizens in Post-Colonial Harare, c.1980-2017

Author: 
Dande, Innocent
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2021
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Swart, Sandra, (jt. author)
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 47, No. 4, 2021, pp. 567-586
Abstract: 

This article examines the 'post-colonial' dogs - and their humans - of an African city. It draws on archival sources, newspaper sources and oral interviews to describe how Zimbabwe dealt with its urban canine citizens over the almost 40 years following independence. The local narrative is contextualised in a comparative reading of dog histories from other urban centres around the world, but it demonstrates the idiographic idioms and shifting specificities of urban animal-human histories from the global south. We focus on changes in regimes regulating dogs, especially those owned by Africans, between 1980 and 2017, showing how dog management reflected competing visions of the modern city. We discuss visions of the dog-human relationship from the state downwards - including from national leaders, animal-welfare organisations and the Kennel Clubs right down to individual dog-owners and breeders. This group included a new niche, the young urban 'ghetto dog fancy', prompted by the vicissitudes of the economy and the vagaries of fashion. We discuss how this led to new types of 'Africanised' dogs, drawing on fluid notions of 'breed'. The state's efforts to impose top-down control were ambiguous and contested, but we show that the divide in response was never only racialised, but fissured through with anxieties over class, gender and generation. Harare developed a hybrid dog-keeping regime that mixed aspects of long-enduring tradition and self-consciously modern regimes. Fundamentally, we show that dog-human relations were idiographic, syncretic and shifting, and that they often pivoted around human-human relations.

Language: 
Country focus: 

CITATION: Dande, Innocent. A City Gone to the Dogs? Power, Modernity and Canine Citizens in Post-Colonial Harare, c.1980-2017 . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2021. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 47, No. 4, 2021, pp. 567-586 - Available at: http://library.au.int/city-gone-dogs-power-modernity-and-canine-citizens-post-colonial-harare-c1980-2017