n Latin American Report - The female nom de guerre (war names) in the Zimbabwean liberation war 1

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



Upon joining the liberation struggle, guerrillas were compelled to assume new names, mainly to hide their identities as well as protect their families from the enemy forces. Furthermore, the new war names reinforced the revolutionary mood, motivating and boosting their morale in their struggle. However, much literature has tended to focus on the masculine tenets of the nom de guerre. The thrust of this paper, therefore, is on the female war names and their significance in the context of the war and beyond. This research is being carried out against the background of the belief that these war names had great significance for the female guerrilla's perception of her goals, challenges and fears during the war, as well as the nature of her liberation war duties. The names also gave an insight into their hopes and expectations in the post war period. This paper thus attempts to address the implications of the names in the face of the quest to discard previously feminine roles and the need for equal partnership with their male counterparts. The paper also questions the applicability of some of the names with regard to the war. An analysis of the corpus of the names is given within the context of the war and the post independence era. This research is part of an ongoing project on onomastics and presents data collected on the names guerrillas used during the Zimbabwean liberation struggle.

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