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19 September 2019 | Story Amanda Thongha | Photo Charl Devenish
Dr Gwande
Dr Victor Gwande

Attaining his master’s degree cum laude, completing a PhD degree, and publishing in top academic journals, University of the Free State (UFS) academic, Dr Victor Gwande, has been an outstanding researcher throughout his career.

Adding to his list of notable achievements, the postdoctoral research fellow in the International Studies Group has just been awarded a fellowship at Princeton University, one of the top universities in the world. The US institution was recently ranked sixth in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020.

As a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Dr Gwande will spend two weeks on the Ivy League university’s New Jersey campus in 2020. This will be followed by a weeklong session at one of two collaborating institutions in South Africa and the US, with continuous communication facilitated among selected scholars throughout a two-year period. 

Flying high the flag of the African academy
Dr Gwande believes the fellowship will expose him to new intellectual traditions and perspectives. “It will help me create international academic networks across continents, as I seek to put my name out there as an internationally recognised scholar.”

With his research interests in economic and business history of Southern Africa, Dr Gwande says he wishes to become “a great scholar of African economic history, flying high the flag of the African academy, as well as training and producing young scholars for the academy”.

Working with some of the world’s top minds at Princeton University, there will be much to focus on.

“I will be researching, writing, and presenting my research project in which I use the case study of the Anglo American Corporation to look at the histories of capitalism and to understand how monopoly capitalism shaped economic trajectories of Zimbabwe and the broader Southern African region.”

Longer-term plans include completing his monograph stemming from his PhD thesis.

There are many people to thank for his journey from the UFS to Princeton, and the scholar draws attention to some of those who have influenced him. 

“God and my family. But in my career, quite a number of people and institutions have really moulded me; the International Studies Group under Prof Ian Phimister has given me an environment to flourish in my young career.

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