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Department of Geography

Melusi Nkomo
Melusi Nkomo, Dr.

Political Geography

Tel.: 044 635 52 12
Room number: Y25 L 64

Short Biography

My research interests broadly lie at the intersection between
labour, politics and cultural practices in African mining contexts.
Accordingly, my Ph.D. examined the sociocultural practices in
communities of migrant mine workers working on the "platinum mining belt"
of northwest South Africa. The primarily ethnographic research tried to
reconnect with scholarship on the moral economy of work (especially in
mining), sociality, masculinities, and their performativity, at the most
granular of levels. As a postdoctoral researcher, I am part of a Swiss
National Science Foundation (SNSF) funded project on extractive labour in
the Artisan Mining “frontiers” in Africa. The comparative study concerns
the way in which mining labour is mobilised, embedded (socially and
spatially) and territorialised in three regions of sub-Saharan Africa,
namely, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Nkomo, M. 2023. REVIEW ARTICLE. "Tomás, António. 2022. "In the Skin of the City: Spatial Transformations in Luanda". Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Exertions, Society for the Anthropology of Work.

Nkomo, M. & Nkomo, L. 2023. "Politics from the Pits: Artisanal Gold-mining, Politics and the Limits of Hegemonic State Domination in Zimbabwe", 'Journal for Southern African Studies',

Nkomo, M. 2023. “Migrants and the Politics of Presence on the South African Platinum Mining Belt”, International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 15.1 | 2023, Online since 02 May 2023, connection on 25 May 2023. URL:; DOI:

Nkomo, M. 2022. Politics and the Anatomy of a Gold-rush in Zimbabwe’s Kwekwe District, ‘Extractive Industries and Society, Vol. 11,

Nkomo, M. 2021, REVIEW ARTICLE. "Maxim Bolt. 2015. 'Zimbabwe’s migrants and South Africa’s border farms: the roots of impermanence', New York: Cambridge University Press”. Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(169), pages 488-490, July.

Nkomo, M. 2021, REVIEW ARTICLE. "Kleist, Nauja, and Dorte Thorsen, editors. 2017. “Hope and Uncertainty in Contemporary African Migration”. New York: Routledge Studies in Anthropology". African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, vol. 11(2), pages 147-150, Fall.

Nkomo, M. 2016. ‘Beyond the Compound’: Organization of Social Life in an Informal Settlement within a South African Mining Town. Labour, Capital and Society 48:1&2.

Nkomo, M. 2011. "The 2011 Zambian Elections: What’s in it for the Workers? International Politics Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southern Africa". 07/2011 Issue.

Nkomo, M. 2012. "Democracy Promotion in Africa: Principles, Options and Dilemmas". In Andrews, N., Khalema, N.E., Oriola, T. and Odoom, I. (eds.). Africa Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: Exploring the Multidimensional discourses on ‘Development’ Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd.