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The African Leadership Centre is excited to host a seminar presented by our Global Visiting Fellows, Professor Jen Snowball and Dr Ivan Marowa. They will be presenting their respective papers.

About the papers

Title: 'Creative Economies in South Africa: How the pandemic exposed challenges and some opportunities'

By: Professor Jen Snowball, King's College London - Global Visiting Fellow, and Professor of Economics at Rhodes University; Researcher at South African Cultural Observatory.

Abstract: In South Africa, the creative economy has increasingly be recognized as a potential driver of economic growth, development, and social cohesion, with cultural policy naming the sector as the “new gold” of the economy. However, the pandemic exposed some important sector vulnerabilities.

The project based, informal nature of employment in many domains, its reliance on in-person production and consumption activities, and the prevalence of small and micro-enterprises, meant that the COVID-19 shutdown had a devastating effect on both cultural consumption and production.

At a macroeconomic level, the GDP contribution of the sector declined faster than the rest of the economy, which also saw a steep drop in international cultural goods trade. Nevertheless, the disruption also exposed some opportunities, such as the innovative ways in which some cultural festivals were able to adapt and continue to provide value for artists, audiences and sponsors, and the growing equality of access in areas like Audio-Visual and Interactive Media.

The sector has also been empowered to demand a greater level of policy accountability from government through activism. The paper reflects on the role of research in tracking and framing such changes.

Title: 'Whose water is it? Social Conflicts and Underground Water in Fuleche, Hurungwe District of Zimbabwe'

By: Dr Ivan Marowa, King's College London - Global Visiting Fellow; University of Zimbabwe.

Abstract: Rural communities experience social conflict on an everyday basis. These social conflicts vary from one community to the other due to cultural causes and contexts, and the manner of occurrence.

This presentation examines social conflict caused by limited access to underground clean water within the Fuleche community in Dandawa Chiefdom, Hurungwe District in north western Zimbabwe. It contributes to the debate on social conflicts that involve human-water-livestock relations within and between rural communities. Underground clean water accessed through boreholes or hand water pumps is an everyday necessity in rural communities.  

The study uses people’s everyday experiences and needs to analyse social tensions in underrepresented communities. Social conflicts emanate from access to underground water from the few functioning boreholes in the area and issues involving their maintenance. They also include the provision of water to livestock as they too are part of the community.

Dandawa Chiefdom is a social space that was constructed by the colonial state in the 1950s and has been experiencing a sharp increase in social conflicts. Social conflicts occur on a day-to-day basis as observed by Coser, Dahrendorf and Collins (cited in Corwin, 2006: 211) and the conflicts are ‘not limited to overtly violent situations.’ Dandawa chiefdom has been fragmented by various social conflicts.

Accusations of witchcraft and sorcery in families and villages, leadership wrangles at village and chiefdom levels among others point to social conflicts and stories of powerlessness. These conflicts destroy habitual relations and exert ‘pressure for innovation and creativity’ (Coser, 1957: 197) to obtain justice.

In Dandawa, a family abandoned its homestead and went into exile in 2000 due to a succession battle; in 2008 blood brothers got into a nasty politically related conflict (ZANU-PF vs MDC) that ended in death; in 2020 a homestead was torched over allegations of sorcery and three blood brothers got involved in a nasty fallout at a village court accusing each other of witchcraft.

These stand offs are about kinship ties, succession wrangles, kuromba (witchcraft, magic powers and sorcery), boundaries (fields, village, chiefdoms) among others. Access to clean underground water is, since the first decade of the 21st century, among the cultural causes of social conflict in Fuleche community.

Event details

Bush House South East Wing
Strand, London WC2R 1AE