24 May 2018 Photo Rulanzen Martin
UFSAfricaWeek- Focus on Dr Tapiwa Madimu
Dr Tapiwa Madimu, one of the post-docs at GCAS.

Every African person should be reminded how important it is to be an African and be aware of the need for unity and peace among all African countries. This is what celebrating Africa week should remind us, according to Dr Tapiwa Madimu, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies (CGAS) at the University of the Free State.

Dr Madimu holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University and before joining the UFS he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Rhodes University where he taught a course on Zimbabwean history.

He says: “As an African scholar it is important to break the tradition of treating Africans as subjects of African studies and create an environment in which African scholars on the continent flourish. 

“This will result in the production of a true African story, untainted by foreign viewpoints. We cannot completely discount the significance of different viewpoints in academia but crucial questions should be raised concerning the motives behind foreign research projects on Africa.

Research important for African economy and politics
“My research interests are mainly concerned with agriculture and mining history, social and environmental history and financial history in southern Africa, with a special emphasis on Zimbabwe and South Africa,” Dr Madimu says. 

His current project focuses on the so-called illegal African miners, or zama zamas, in South Africa, particularly those of Zimbabwean origin. It highlights the diachronic set of social relationships amongst the zama zamas at disused mines, both inside and outside the mines.

This research is incredibly important to the African economic and political landscape. The zama zamas have a fascinating history which is vital to understand to start to comprehend the stormy sociopolitical present, especially contention over land rights, power and xenophobia in South Africa.

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