Recent praise for The Land Reform Deception
- African Studies Review — Blair Rutherford
- The American Historical Review — Timothy Scarnecchia
- Africa (Cambridge University Press) — McDonald Lewanika
- African Studies Quarterly — Ryan Gibb
- Historia (Historical Association of South Africa) — Joyline Takudzwa Kufandirori
- Brown Political Review
- PERIPHERY – Politics, Economy, Culture — Rita Schäfer
Charles is a leading expert on the history of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. The focus of his doctoral research at Oxford University was the period from 2000 to 2008 when Robert Mugabe’s government and its allies seized most of the country’s 4,300 commercial farms without providing compensation to the farmers. At the same time, these agents violently targeted farm workers and their families in the most critical event since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. The result of the land seizures was the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and a polarization of the political environment that has remained to this day.
A key purpose of this website is to present additional information to inform and support Charles’ book on the seizure of commercial farms in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2008. Published by Oxford University Press in 2016, The Land Reform Deception examines the key drivers that fueled the takeovers and explores the violence experienced by farmers during the evictions.
The book’s key finding was that the government did not initially plan to seize farms on a large scale. A handful of planned farm takeovers gave way to what became a widespread looting of commercial farms, accompanied by a wave of violence. Senior government officials then had little choice but to re-frame the uncontrollable farm seizures as a ‘land re-distribution exercise’.
This website provides extensive supplementary information related to Charles’ research for The Land Reform Deception. Readers can access a wide range of maps, timelines, graphs and flowcharts that cast new light on the most traumatic period in Zimbabwe’s recent history.