The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo: Texts and Politics in Zimbabwe

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The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo: Texts and Politics in Zimbabwe

By Luise White
Indiana University Press, 2003
128 pp. $39.95
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This intriguing book reopens the unsolved murder of Herbert Chitepo, an early hero of the Zimbabwean nationalist struggle. Its aim is not to apportion blame but to discuss why the documentary evidence surrounding the case -- which includes testimony by at least three self-confessed killers and accusations implicating numerous others -- is so contradictory. White, an accomplished historian, offers subtle and plausible explanations of how and why each of these texts (including a report of a Zambian government inquest and several books and memoirs) was initially produced. She shows that each must be read in the context of power struggles within the former Rhodesia and the interests of neighboring states in the outcome of these struggles. Interesting but speculative is her claim that today there is significant public discussion of these texts, which is helping to construct a "founding myth" of the Zimbabwean nation.