Crossing the Zambezi: The Politics of Landscape on a Central African Frontier (Hardcover)
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This book is a history of claims to the Zambezi, focussed on the stretch of the river extending from the Victoria Falls downstream into Lake Kariba, which today constitutes the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is a story of 150 years of conflict over the changing landscape of the river, in which the tension between the Zambezi's 'river people' and more powerful others has been central. The Zambezi is one of Africa's longest and most important rivers - securing access to its waters and control over its banks, traffic and commerce were crucial political priorities for leaders of precolonial states no less than their colonial and postcolonial successors. The book is about the ways in which the course of the Zambezi has shaped history, its shifting role as link, barrier or conduit, the political, economic and cultural uses of the technological projects that have transformed the landscape, and their legacies in the conflicts of today. By investigating how the claims made today by Zambezi 'river people' relate to longer history of claims and appropriations, the book contributes to long-standing debates over the relationship between geography and history, landscape and power. JOANN MCGREGOR is a Lecturer in Geography at University College London.