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Women and Power in ZimbabwePromises of Feminism$
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Carolyn Martin Shaw

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039638

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039638.001.0001

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Sticks and Scones

Sticks and Scones

The Homecraft Movement in Colonial Zimbabwe

(p.13) Chapter 1 Sticks and Scones
Women and Power in Zimbabwe

Carolyn Martin Shaw

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the Homecraft movement in colonial Zimbabwe and the ways it encouraged women to move beyond the confines of their homes, to join in common cause with non-kin, and to name their desires. Colonial white women who were members of the Federation of Women's Institutes of Southern Rhodesia (FWI) turned to political activism with the founding of Homecraft Clubs for black women. The FWI's systematization of knowledge about home economics was concomitant with the white women's heightened sense of Rhodesian nationalism. As white women taught domesticity and community service to black women, the latter began to assert themselves in the public sphere. The chapter also considers how events such as Kitchen Teas mobilize women's cultural knowledge about who should participate with whom on which occasions in order to bring women together for a celebratory event in honor of a bride. The chapter concludes by describing the decline of Homecraft and suggests that the movement was rife with cruel optimism.

Keywords:   nationalism, Homecraft, Zimbabwe, white women, Federation of Women's Institutes of Southern Rhodesia, political activism, black women, domesticity, Kitchen Teas, cruel optimism

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