Dr Mathew Ruguwa is a sociocultural and environmental historian whose research focuses on dispossession and displacement, military history, natural resource management, climate change, rural livelihoods and peace –building initiatives in twentieth and twenty-first century rural Zimbabwe. Relying largely on oral sources provided by marginalized rural communities who normally don't leave traces in the government archival records, his research illustrates the endurance of the family institution in times of trouble. Using historical episodes such as the rise of settler capitalist agriculture during the colonial period, tree farming in Bvumba during the post- World War II era, the 1970s war of independence, the National Resistance Movement Mozambique (RENAMO) war of the 1980s – 90s, diamond extraction in Marange during the 2000s, and recurring drought, Dr Ruguwa’s research show the intersectionality between dispossession, displacement, familial resilience, and creativity in eastern Zimbabwe. 

Dr Ruguwa is currently working on several projects individually as well as in collaboration with colleagues. These include journal articles and book chapters focusing on the themes of climate change, natural resource-based conflicts and peacebuilding initiatives, rural livelihoods, and RENAMO violence in eastern Zimbabwe.

Dr Ruguwa completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Zimbabwe in 2013. He then moved to do his MA and PhD degrees at Trent University and the University of Calgary, Canada. In 2022, he joined the Department of History, Heritage and Knowledge Systems at the University of Zimbabwe where he facilitated  a number of undergraduate and Masters modules including MAHI 504: International Political Economy, HIA404: Political Economy of Extractive Industries in Africa; HCPST 103: Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies and HEHK 306: Disaster Risk, Climate Change, and Economic Development.


M. Ruguwa, ‘Conflicts over Harnessing of Diamond Resources in Marange Communal Area, Eastern Zimbabwe, 2006-2015’ in Natural Resource-Based Conflicts in Rural Zimbabwe, edited by J. Matanzima, P. Chadambuka and K. Helliker. London: Routledge, 2024. 

Aldrin T. Magaya, and M. Ruguwa, 2024, ‘Conflict over land and Water resources in Zimunya, Manicaland Province’, in Natural Resource-Based Conflicts in Rural Zimbabwe, edited by J. Matanzima, P. Chadambuka and K. Helliker. London: Routledge, 2024.

M. Ruguwa, “Gender, Drought, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and Resilience in Southern Rhodesia, 1947-1952", Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies, (2024): 1-23.

M. Ruguwa, "The Social and Cultural Impact of Post-War Measures on the Zimunya and Bvumba Communities, Colonial Zimbabwe, 1940s–1970s", Journal of African Military History, 7, (2023):121-150.

M. Ruguwa, “Diamonds and Conflict in Post- colonial Africa” in Timothy J. Stapleton. Modern African Conflicts: An Encyclopedia of Civil Wars, Revolutions, and Terrorism. ABC-CLIO, 2022.

M. Ruguwa, “The Social impact of diamond mining on schools in Marange, Zimbabwe, in R. Saunders and T. Nyamunda (eds) Facets of Power: Politics, Profits and People in the Making of Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds. Harare: Weaver Press, 2016.

Awards and Fellowships

Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship, 2020

Eyes High International Doctoral Scholarship, 2019

Dr George Self Graduate Scholarship, 2019

Graduate Travel Award for Research, 2019

Chancellor Norford Doctoral Graduate Scholarship, University of Calgary, 2017

Departmental Book Prize for BA dissertation, University of Zimbabwe, 2013

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