a1 Rhodes University
Zimbabwean historians have not yet fully assessed the interaction of two problematic identities, ethnicity and nationalism, to determine whether the two can work as partners and successfully co-exist. This essay argues that, in Bulawayo during the period studied, ethnicity co-existed with and complemented nationalism rather than the two working as polar opposite identities. Ethnic groups provided both the required leaders who became prominent nationalist figures and the precolonial history, personalities and monuments that sparked the nationalist imagination. From the 1950s, ethnic groups expanded their horizons and provided platforms from which emerging African nationalists launched their agenda. Understanding these interrelationships will reshape our understanding of the workings of these two identities in a cosmopolitan town.