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Department of Geography Political Geography

Melusi Nkomo

Melusi Nkomo, Dr

  • Affiliated Researcher

I completed my doctoral degree in the bi-disciplinary Anthropology and Sociology program at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. My broad research interests are in political anthropology, mining labor (work) and culture. Accordingly, my Ph.D. research examined everyday politics and organization of social life within communities of black migrant mineworkers who still make up a significant part of the labor force on the platinum mines in the north and northwest of South Africa.

My current academic interests are placed on the juncture between labor, politics, violence, and culture in minerals extracting contexts of Africa, particularly southern Africa. I am developing an ethnographically grounded research that will examine the life experiences of young working people in the mineral-rich (mainly gold) central regions of endemically crisis-ridden Zimbabwe. Provisionally titled "Gold, Working Men, Violence and the Politics of Artisanal Mining in Zimbabwe," the study will be a more encompassing endeavor that looks at broader themes such as shifting socio-spatial movement, cultural practices, demography, politics, and violence, among other related themes. This provisional guiding research orientation will allow me to explore, not only economic forces but also motivations for people's everyday actions, their successes, anxieties, aspirations, and choices among other day-to-day issues. My other general interests include questions on livelihoods in natural resource-rich regions, the social and its cultural ordering, masculinities and their performativity.