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African people were written out of the landscape in many parts of colonial Zimbabwe. Conservation and development programmes in Zimbabwe's south-east 'lowveld' have been rooted in the conceptualisation of this landscape as wilderness. The uses, perceptions and experiences of this landscape by African people have been ignored in policies derived from the 'wilderness vision'. Land reform has failed to take account of the way the landscape is bound up with identity through its embodiment of ancestral spirits and function as a repository of social memories. The turbulent dynamics around farm invasions in Zimbabwe may open space for previously silenced constructions of landscape to influence policy.