Image of Harare, Zimbabwe by Christopher Smith
A team of researchers from the Society’s Migrants on the margins field research project presented two academic papers as part of a panel discussion at the African Centre for Cities International Urban Conference earlier this year.
The panel discussion on the newly urbanising spaces on the edges of Africa’s cities was chaired by project team member Dr Kudzai Chatiza, and was a valuable opportunity to showcase initial results from ongoing research in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Professor JoAnn McGregor and Dr Chatiza presented a paper describing marginal settlements as frontiers and PhD student Selina Pasirayi outlined her research on residents’ associations and the residents’ movement in Harare since 2008.
Professor McGregor said the conference was “a fantastic opportunity to network with the top scholars of urbanisation in the Global South, test our ideas out, and gain feedback on preliminary findings and interpretations.”
The panel discussion sparked a lively debate on the terminology used when discussing marginal communities, and also highlighted the difficulties in generalising the experiences in urban areas across different cities.
Held in Cape Town, the conference marked the tenth anniversary of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town and was an opportunity to identify patterns in African cities not seen before in the Global North – for example, that employment is not a driving factor for urbanisation in Africa.
The Harare team will be sharing the ideas raised at the conference with the rest of the Migrants on the margins team over the coming months.
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