Youth masculinities in Zimbabwe’s congested gerontocratic political space

Jaji, Rose
External Publications (2020)

in: Africa Development, Volume 45(3) 77-96

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This article situates its discussion of young Zimbabwean men’s performance of masculinity in a restrictive political space in a broader continental context in  whichthe  majority  of  young  people  are  politically  and  economically  marginalised. It  addresses how the older  generation’s domination  and monopolisation of political space presents obstacles to the youth’s aspiration to perform normative masculinity. The article also discusses various strategies the youth in  Zimbabwe are devising to claim space in a political arena that can be characterised as  a gerontocracy. The youth seek relevance in Zimbabwe’s congested and gerontocratic  political space through strategies that range from co-opting gerontocratic masculinities to subverting them. Notwithstanding the divergence in these strategies, young people who adopt them to create and occupy space in Zimbabwe’s political terrain legitimise their choices by appealing of culture, thus showing how culture can be harnessed for contradictory objectives in the performance of masculinities. The strategies also draw from global trends involving the youth’s engagement in non-traditional political participation facilitated by their dominance of virtual, social media space.


About the author

Jaji, Rose



Further experts

Christ, Simone

Social Anthropology 

Dippel, Beatrice


Friesen, Ina

Political Science 

Roll, Michael


Sowa, Alina


Stöcker, Alexander


Zintl, Tina

Political Scientist