Development Shadows: The Afterlife of Collapsed Development Projects in the Zambian Copperbelt

Lynn Schler, Yonatan Nissim Gez


Communities that were once the target of postcolonial development schemes still contend with the legacies of these interventions, long after such projects have been abandoned. This article looks at the afterlife of Israeli-led agricultural cooperatives that were initiated in the Zambian Copperbelt during the 1960s. Although these schemes collapsed in the decade following their establishment, local communities are still coping with the history of their rise and fall. In the Kafubu Block and Kafulafuta, the physical, social, and economic landscapes resonate with the successes and failures of this modernist planning. The schemes continue to provide a fundamental and contentious point of reference in both individual and community lives. A long-term perspective on the communities’ continued engagement with the legacies of the abandoned schemes deepens our understanding of development’s complex “afterlife,” and demonstrates how the past retains its relevance by taking on different meanings over time.

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