This paper deals with the emergent and evolving forms of social organization in Zimbabwe’s post–Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). It highlights the way in which these institutional formations show the emergence of a social and solidarity economy in which self-help and grassroots organizations surface as a viable alternative to state or capitalist interventions. In 2000 Zimbabwe experienced a major shift in its rural landscape when land occupation and government-initiated land reform saw the emergence of new communities of black farmers on formerly white-owned farms. The government of Zimbabwe had neither the funds nor the capacity to provide social amenities when the fast track programme began. This paper shows how small-scale farmer communities ensured service provision through their own initiative. The government did not have the resources to monitor, let alone force, people into functional communities. It is through informal farm level institutions built up through interaction and negotiation, and based on trust, reciprocity, unity of purpose and communality, that these communities have sustained their existence and are part of an emerging social and solidarity economy.
Manase Kudzai Chiweshe is a post-doctoral research fellow at Rhodes University, South Africa