The Politics of Space and the Search for Ethico-Moral Rearmament in Zimbabwe in John Eppel’s Hatchings
Keywords:Place, Corruption, Regeneration, positive space, negative space, degeneration, Zimbabwe
This article analyses the politics of space and the search for national regeneration in a society that is bifurcated along class, moral, and ethical lines. Whichever way one looks at it, Zimbabwe’s spatialised realities in both denotative and connotative terms stubbornly stand out. Space here is used as a discursive method of inclusion and exclusion. There are opposition spaces, ZANU-PF spaces, church spaces, corrupt spaces and spaces of violence and coercion. What are often dwarfed are those spaces that represent the future, national cohesion and multiculturalism, because they have never been allowed to flourish. This article examines the novel Hatchings (2006) by John Eppel in order to argue that the spaces of national toxicity preponderate over the spaces that represent national development, healing and justice. The article invokes theories of space and place by such theorists as Henri Lefebvre, Setha Low and Ranka Primorac to argue that space is socially produced and imbued with symbolic meaning over and above its physicality. As embodied, space(s) houses metaphors, ideology, behaviours, habits and orientations that can either unhinge or redeem a society depending on the balance of forces at play in given social contexts. What Eppel seems to be suggesting, the article concludes, is that despite the fact that Zimbabwe has been in the tenacious grip of the spaces of looters and immoral personages, the nation possesses within itself spaces for self-renewal that are often ignored or suppressed in the relentless pursuit of self-interest. There is a need for a new national culture and ethos that propels the nation into the future rather than the abyss.
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