Informal street vending in Harare: how postcolonial policies have confined the vendor in a precarious subaltern state

Ishmael Bhila, Edson Chiwenga*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The informal street vendor in Zimbabwe has become a subject of abuse and neglect. The condition of subalternity suffered by blacks under colonial structures has been transferred to the vendor in the postcolonial epoch. The apparatus used by colonial regimes to keep the blacks at the peripheries of the city-scape are the ones now used to keep the vendor in subalternity – a condition where the vendor is a subject robbed of a voice, agency and visibility. In this study we situate the position of the subalternised vendor, showing how an intersection of identities of vulnerability subjugate the vendor to a neglected place at the periphery of economic society. Using sociological and postcolonial analysis we show how the position of the informal vendor in Harare as a subaltern has led policy makers in Zimbabwe to turn a blind eye to their plight and to treat them as a nuisance and as enemies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalInterventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
Early online date19 Jul 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 19 Jul 2022


  • postcolonialism
  • subaltern
  • intersectionality
  • lifeworld
  • livelihoods
  • policy
  • vendor

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