First Steps in The Oral Historiography of The Midlands: a Review of the Work of Harald von Sicard
Mazarire, Gerald Chikozho
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For over 25 years Harald von Sicard made a sterling contribution to the history of Mberengwa and adjoining areas. By1971 he had well over 23 articles on several aspects of this area published in various languages and journals. He has been associated by many with the antiquarian school that graced Zimbabwean historiography in the period before the emergence of nationalist history. It has been alleged that this school of thought was much wedded to the colonial pre-occupation with mobilization of labour, yet so far as von Sicard works are concerned they border on the informative to the innovative at a scale so far unsurpassed. This paper argues that there is so much to learn from this school and indeed from von Sicard’s work on the Midlands and that apart from the problem of scale, which rendered his work rather too confined, it is indeed this case-study orientation, which makes his works important sources on the early history of the Midlands. It is also the root of its weakness which happens to be a common problem with ethnographic studies of this nature and their contribution to knowledge in general.