The CHR congratulate Nsima Udo, currently a CHR Doctoral Fellow with the SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory, for winning the prestigous Africa Thesis Award from the African Studies Centre of the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. The prize is for the best MA thesis in African Studies. The notice from Leiden is as follows:
Winner Africa Thesis Award 2019: Nsima Stanislaus Udo. Visualising the body: photographic clues and the cultural fluidity of Mbopo institution, 1914 – 2014.
This year a total of forty one high-quality Master’s theses were submitted to the Africa Thesis Award. The submitted theses were all based on independent research related to Africa and represented a diverse range of disciplinary fields. The Africa Thesis Award committee is glad to announce that this year’s winner is Nsima Stanislaus Udo (University of Western Cape, South Africa) for his thesis Visualising the body: photographic clues and the cultural fluidity of Mbopo institution, 1914 – 2014. The thesis unpacks the history of mbopo, a form of female initiation in Southern Nigeria. It argues for the importance of studying popular representations of the ritual and shows the changes of the institution over time, analysing its social meaning and how it has been aesthetically represented and valued differently over time. Through detailed analysis of documentary and visual sources, it shows how it emerges historically, is discredited in the 1990s as a form of female mutilation and is re-appreciated in recent reality TV shows. The committee commends his thesis for being very readable, its original use of visual analysis and how it links detailed insights into the ritual to wider societal transformations. The Award consists of a prize of 500 euros, publication of the winning thesis in the ASCL’s African Studies Collection and an invitation to present the thesis at the award ceremony.