READ OF THE WEEK: Being a white nurse in colonial Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) before World War II

Being a white nurse in colonial Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) before World War II by Clement Masakure

The colonial hospitals of Central and Southern Africa are an important space to analyse, among other things, the experiences of the white working women who toiled day and night to provide medical and nursing care to African and European patients. This blog considers the case of colonial Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia), which had three types of hospitals: first, mission hospitals, under the control of various denominations and based mainly in rural areas, provided medical services to Africans in the vicinity of the mission station; second, mining hospitals, again located in rural areas, provided medical care to mine workers; and third, government hospitals, the majority of which were located in urban areas. By the 1930s and into the 1940s, government hospitals existed in major towns such as Salisbury (now Harare), the capital, as well as Bulawayo, Umtali (Mutare), Gwelo (Gwelo) and Fort Victoria (Masvingo). These hospitals employed the largest number of white nurses in Central Africa, on both a permanent and temporary basis.

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ClementClement Masakure:  Postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Africa Studies, University of the Free State. His research interests revolve around health and healing in southern Africa, with a particular emphasis on histories of healthcare workers and hospitals in Zimbabwe

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