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Term 2 Week 1: Contemporary Urban Inequalities

This week considers the ways in which colonial urban inequalities were remade after independence. Urban heirarchies once based on race became based on wealth in the postcolonial period, a process which intersected with the impacts of urban economic decline from the 1970s and the growth of urban informal economies from the 1980s. In this seminar we will think about how these processes have played out over time, focussing on Zimbabwe and Malawi. We will also think about action governments have taken action to 'clean up' urban areas and we will consider the use of photographs as primary sources for exploring issues of urban inequality.

Core Reading

Bill Freund, The African City: A History (Cambridge, 2012), chapter five.

Deborah Potts, 'City Life in Zimbabwe at a Time of Fear and Loathing: Urban Planning, Urban Poverty, and Operation Murambatsvina', in Martin J. Murray and Garth A. Myers (eds), Cities in Contemporary Africa (New York, 2006). Ebook

Liam Riley, 'Operation Dongosolo and the Geographies of Urban Poverty in Malawi', Journal of Southern African Studies, 40, 3 (2014), pp. 443-458.

Unequal Scenes photography project: Kya Sands/Bloubosrand, Masiphumelele/Lake Michelle, Vusimuzi/Mooifontein Cemetary, Alexandra/Sandton, Strand/Nomzano.

Seminar Questions

1. How has inequality shaped life in postcolonial southern African cities?

2. What do Operations Murambatsvina and Dongosolo tell us about urban poverty in postcolonial Zimbabwe and Malawi?

3. What do Operations Murambatsvina and Dongosolo tell us about politics and power dynamics in postcolonial Zimbabwe and Malawi?

4. How useful are photographs as sources for examining urban poverty in contemporary southern Africa?

Primary Sources

NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (2013) [and see this short interview and extract from the book which address Operation Murambatsvina: 'We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo', The Guardian, 15 Nov 2013]

World Bank Poverty and Equity Data Portal

Further Reading

Vivian Bickford-Smith, 'Urban history in the new South Africa: continuity and innovation since the end of apartheid', Urban History, 35, 2 (2008), pp. 288-315.

Ingrid Brudvig, Conviviality in Bellville: an ethnography of space, place, mobility and being in urban South Africa (2004). Ebook

A.J. Christopher, 'Urban Segregation in Post-apartheid South Africa', Urban Studies 38, 3 (2001), pp. 449-466.

A.J. Christopher, 'Towards the post-apartheid city', L'Espace géographique, 28, 4 (1999), pp. 300-308.

Bill Freund, 'Contrasts in Urban Segregation: A Tale of Two African Cities, Durban (South Africa) and Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire)', Journal of Southern African Studies 27 (2001), pp. 527-546.

Sally Gaule, 'Alternating Currents of Power: From Colonial to Post-apartheid Spatial Patterns in Newtown, Johannesburg', Urban Studies, 42, 13 (2005), pp. 2335-2361.

Sandrine Gukelberger, Urban politics after apartheid (2018). Ebook

Karen Tranberg Hansen, Keeping House in Lusaka (1997).

Karen Tranberg Hansen, 'Getting Stuck in the Compound: Some Odds against Social Adulthood in Lusaka, Zambia', Africa Today, 51, 4 (2005), pp. 3-16.

Philip Harrison et al (eds), Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid (2014). Ebook

Ruth Massey and Ashley Gunter (eds), Urban geography in South Africa: Perspectives and Theory (2020)

Martin J. Murray and Garth A. Myers (eds), Cities in Contemporary Africa (New York, 2006). Ebook

Garth Andrew Myers, Disposable Cities: Garbage, Governance and Sustainable Development in Urban Africa (New York, 2005). Ebook

Garth Andrew Myers, African Cities: Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice (London, 2011). Ebook

Francis Musoni, 'Operation Murambatsvina and the Politics of Street Vendors in Zimbabwe', Journal of Southern African Studies, 36, 2 (2010), pp. 301-317.

Deborah Potts, ‘Restoring Order’? Operation Murambatsvina and the Urban Crisis in Zimbabwe', Journal of Southern African Studies, 32, 2 (2006), pp. 273-291.

Deborah Potts & Chris Mutambirwa, 'Rural‐urban linkages in contemporary Harare: why migrants need their land', Journal of Southern African Studies, 16, 4 (1990), pp. 677-698.

Vanessa de Pacheco Melo, 'The Production of Urban Peripheries For and By Low-Income Populations at the Turn of the Millennium: Maputo, Luanda and Johannesburg', Journal of Southern African Studies 42, 4 (2016), pp. 619-641.

Sarah Nuttall and Achille Mbembé (eds), Johannesburg: the elusive metropolis (2008). Ebook

Sandra Roque, Miguel Mucavele & Nair Noronha, 'Subúrbios and Cityness: Exploring Imbrications and Urbanity in Maputo, Mozambique', Journal of Southern African Studies, 42, 4 (2016), pp. 643-658.

Ann Schlyter, Recycled Inequalities: Youth and Gender in George Compound, Zambia (1999).

Sílvia Leiria Viegas, 'Urbanisation and Peri-Urbanisation in Luanda: A Geopolitical and Socio-Spatial Perspective from the Late Colonial Period to the Present', Journal of Southern African Studies, 42, 4 (2016), pp. 595-618.