Original Research

Traditional leadership and the Tokwe-Mukosi induced displacements: Finding the missing link

Kudzayi S. Tarisayi
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 10, No 1 | a592 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v10i1.592 | © 2018 Kudzayi S. Tarisayi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 December 2017 | Published: 15 November 2018

About the author(s)

Kudzayi S. Tarisayi, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


There is increasing empirical evidence that the relocation of the victims of the Tokwe-Mukosi floods in Zimbabwe was marred by a combination of challenges. These challenges are argued in this article to have resulted from the adoption of Eurocentric models by government and non-governmental organisation technocrats and experts while relegating traditional leadership and the lived experiences of the displaced to the shadows. The writer provides a summary and critique of the Elizabeth Colson–Thayer Scudder four-stage model and Michael Cernea’s Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction Model. This article argues that traditional leadership is the missing link in disaster-induced displacement and its integration can overcome most of the challenges faced by the displaced in Zimbabwe. Traditional leadership in Zimbabwe can be traced to precolonial states and it has survived the colonial and postcolonial epochs. The study was guided by the Afrocentric theoretical framework. The case for the integration of traditional leadership was buttressed by numerous arguments. Among these arguments include proximity of traditional leadership to the displaced, the Zunde raMambo concept and ubuntu, among others.


disaster-induced displacements; Tokwe-Mukosi; traditional leadership


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