Native Aliens: The Malawian Diaspora in Zimbabwe c.1895 to 2008


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


International Studies Group, Centre for Africa Studies


The project explores the making and sustaining of an historically important diasporic community: Malawian migrants, first in Southern Rhodesia and then in Zimbabwe, looking at the roots and continued existence of this enduring but changing; resilient but vulnerable; minority group. The research is organized around experiences and processes of identity articulation, marginalization and agency, within the changing context of regional and national formations. It examines how identity and belonging shapes diasporic experiences and everyday survival/resistance overtime. In the process, it analyses the role that this friable migrant group has played in Zimbabwean socio-economic and political landscape in the past, in order to explain an ever-shifting and critical relationship to the state (both under the colonial white minority rule and post-colonial black majority government), and ordinary Zimbabweans. It also illuminates how the Malawian diaspora made their own history, exerting individual and collective agency against challenges in a foreign space.