Nairobi Annual Lecture 2018
The lecture will provide an understanding of the November 2017 events in Zimbabwe and the dynamics of the political contestations involved. It will also look at the possible future implications of these events and their effects on politics in Zimbabwe and the SADC region. Finally the presentation will reflect on the legacy of the Mugabe era.
Speaker’s bio: Professor Brian Raftopoulos is a Zimbabwean scholar and activist. Formally Professor of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, he moved to Cape Town at the end of March 2006 and is currently the Director of Research and Advocacy in the Solidarity Peace Trust/Ukuthula Trust, an NGO dealing with human rights issues in Zimbabwe. Currently he is also a Research Associate at the International Studies Group, University of the Free State. He has published widely on Zimbabwean history, labour history, historiography, politics, and economic issues. Prof. Raftopoulos was a Mellon Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape from 2009-2016. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Southern African Studies and on the Advisory Board of Kronos, Southern African Histories. In addition, he has been a civic activist in Zimbabwe since the 1990’s. He was a member of the founding Task Force of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) 1998-2000, the editor of the NCA journal Agenda from 1999-2001, as well as the first Chair of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition from 2001-2003.
Discussant’s bio: Joost Fontein is a social anthropologist and currently on leave from his post as Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. His research explores the political and material imbrications of landscapes, things and human substances. He has done extended periods of ethnographic fieldwork in Zimbabwe since the late 1990s. His doctoral research, exploring the politics of heritage and landscape around Great Zimbabwe National Monument, won the ASA UK Audrey Richards Prize in 2004, and was published as a monograph in 2006. His second monograph Remaking Mutirikwi: Landscape, Water and Belonging (June 2015) explores the political materialities of belonging in the context of ‘Fast Track’ land reform around a modern dam in southern Zimbabwe. It was shortlisted for the Melville Herskovitts prize by the ASA USA in 2016. He is now completing another book on Zimbabwe, entitled The Politics of the Dead & the Power of Uncertainty: Materiality, Rumours and Human Remains in post-2000 Zimbabwe. His more recent research has focused on the emergence, materiality and becoming in urban contexts, as part of a large multi-authored, collaborative project between scholars and artists that he has co-initiated entitled Nairobi Becoming. For this project he has done ethnographic fieldwork across Nairobi looking at water supply and sanitation in Mathare, at the city’s architectural salvage and the demolition industry, and at urban goat keeping and trading at Kiamiako, in Huruma. Since joining the BIEA in 2014 he has also co-curated various exhibitions in Nairobi (at the BIEA and at the National Museum), including Waste Remains & Metonymy I (October 2015 & February 2016); Waste, Remains & Metonymy II: Sensing Nairobi (Feburary 2017 & June 2017), and most recently Waste, Remains & Metonymy III:Kikulacho Nairobi (February 2018). He is also a founding member of the Bones Collective research group, a former editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies (2008-2014), and co-founder of Critical African Studies. In September 2018 he will take up a Chair in Anthropology at the University of Johannesburg.
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