Tendai Mlambo

Current Fellows: Anthropology Department, MA

I am currently a fellow of Afro-Asia at the Centre for Humanities Research (UWC), pursuing a Masters Degree in Anthropology. My research explores the space of songs in diasporic activism. This follows an ethnographic study of political meetings hosted by Zimbabweans in Cape Town, South Africa. Through this research I seek to conceptualise the ideological underpinnings and ideas behind these performances and how they appropriate the values of the Chimurenga liberation struggle that ended with independence in Zimbabwe in 1980. The research will closely examine how political discourse is crafted in political meetings as expressed in chants, comments, slogans, speeches, dance and songs. The significance of this study is that it seeks to address a gap in research by observing not only how political messages are disseminated through lyrics but also how the performance aspects of the songs shape political activism in contemporary societies. The research thus attempts to make a contribution by providing empirical research in the role of song in political resistance and activism by Zimbabweans in the diaspora. The fact that this takes place in contemporary diasporic communities is crucial for an anthropological statement on political transformation across borders in the 21st century.