Philanthrocapitalism: How to Legitimize the Hegemony of the Rich with a “Good Vibes” Discourse

Developing Economics

5093646448_9cea7df323_o.jpg Melinda Gates speaking at DFID. Photo: DFID.

Is philanthrocapitalism a vehicle for so-called “development”? In an article recently released in Globalizations (here), Juanjo Mediavilla (University of Valladolid, Spain) and I analysed the phenomenon of philanthrocapitalism as a financing for development (FfD) instrument from the perspective of Critical Development Studies and Discourse Theory. We argue that we are witnessing the deepening of a neoliberal development agenda, where philanthrocapitalism and the elites play a key role.

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Responding to uncertainty: who are the experts?


Uncertainties are everywhere, part of life. But how to respond? Who are the experts? These are questions that we are debating this week at an ESRC STEPS Centre symposium. But they are also questions very pertinent to daily life in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in the world.

Everyday uncertainties

For example, last week in Zimbabwe, a new currency arrangement was announced overnight. The multi-currency regime disappeared and all monetary transactions within the country had to take place in the Zimbabwe dollar. No-one expected this to happen so suddenly.

This year too farmers have confronted uncertainties in their farming practices, with a widespread drought. An El Nino event was predicted, but what impact this would have, where on cropping and livestock production was unknown. Farmers and herders have had to adapt and innovate.

Many of those who received plots as part of the land reform after 2000 are still awaiting confirmation…

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The Zimbabwe Corruption Pandemic: Is there Justice in “Naming & Shaming”?

Yona Yethu

Corruption is undeniably one of the major reasons behind Zimbabwe’s economic Crisis. ZANUPF deputy Youth Secretary, Lewis Matutu has promised to name and shame corruption ring leaders on the 24th of June 2019. This has been largely welcomed by most Zimbabwean youths as a necessary step towards curbing corruption. However is there Justice and sustenance in naming and shaming? Do criminals have shame after all?

The act of naming and shaming has become a cliche. In the early days of the Second Republic; the naming and shaming jibe was thrown but dissipated without any substantial effect. Even of late, the Government of Zimbabwe threatened to “name and shame” with the new ZANU PF Political Commissar, Cde Victor Matemedanda promising similar action. The ZANUPF Secretary for Youth, Cde Pupurayi Togarepi also once threatened to “name and shame” the culprits. Even histrionic but cunning characters like William “Acie Lumumba” Mtumbanje also brought…

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Call for Submissions – Living While Feminist



Open to all feminists, in all bodies

Living whilst
feminist in a patriarchal society comes with both great reward and great risk.
It is an act of courage.

So much of our experience
of living is filtered through our bodies. Norms, myths, and cultural standards
shape the way that we and the world experience our bodies, how they look and
feel and move, our experience of ourselves as gendered, and our identities. Our
bodies can be a way to conform, or to struggle and resist.

Feminism can
help us learn and unlearn things about our bodies, can help us experience a
sense of comfort and self-control, and most importantly, feminism is for

This collection seeks essays and memoir pieces on the idea of Living While Feminist for a collection to be published by Kwela in 2020.

Some ideas of topics to write on appear below…

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What is the Relationship Between Colonialism and Human Rights?

Vernac News

Simbarashe Nyatsanza

On Saturday Cape Town based community action group Pathways To Free Education hosted a discussion of Professor Nelson Maldonado-Torres’ groundbreaking paper On the Coloniality of Human Rights. The discussion was held at the Salt River Community House and Maldonado-Torres himself was in attendance.

The discussion’s main objective was to arrive at an understanding of the relationship between human rights and decolonization, as well as to expose the coloniality of human rights.

Speaking at the event, the Puerto Rican born scholar, philosopher and decolonialist gave a broad overview of his paper, highlighting three central points of discussion. These points will be summarized below.

From Human Rights to Rehumanizing

Prof Maldonado-Torres described the origins of Human Rights as having been made necessary by the separation of Church and State. He spoke of Human Rights as a derivation of 15th century Europe’s deviation from Theocentricism. The distinguishing between the Human…

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Keynote at Launching of African Humanities Programme books, February 1, 2019, University of Dar es Salaam.


Intellectuals pride themselves as producers of knowledge. They are also articulators of ideologies, a role they do not normally acknowledge. Respectable universities worth the name call themselves sites of knowledge production. I say “respectable” because these days many neo-liberalised universities have abandoned the role of knowledge production in favour of packaging disparate information and branding their “products” (students) to make them saleable on the market. That is a story for another day. Today I don’t want to talk about packaging factories. Today I want to address those intellectuals who still consider themselves producers of knowledge rather than assembly line supervisors of packaging industries.

In a capitalist society divided into classes you have broadly two types of intellectuals. There are those who produce rationalizations, justifications and mystifications to maintain and reproduce…

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Battlefields Artisanal Small-Scale Mining National Disaster: What We Know, Lessons Learnt and Planning for the Future

Mukasiri Sibanda's Blog

IMG_20190216_131429Picture taken by Mukasiri Sibanda, over a thousand people gathered to find out the fate of their loved ones

A day before the Valentine’s Day on 13 February, tragedy struck Zimbabwe’s artisanal gold mining sector. How ironic.  Gold is used to produce jewellery, a symbol of love and wealth. However, the Battlefields disaster, where 8 miners were rescued alive and 24 bodies were recovered at Cricket mine, is self-evident, there is no valentine for key gold producers – Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners (ASMers).  Another irony is that ASMers were battling for their lives in a place called Battlefields. The battle of trapped miners was an episode of tough socio-economic struggles being fought by many Zimbabweans.

These are not just gold diggers.  “Gram by gram” ASMers are digging the country out of its foreign currency woes. Gold production from ASMers has been phenomenal, from 3.9 tonnes in 2014 to 21.7 tonnes…

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History and Economy in Zimbabwe’s Financial Crisis Context

Zimbabwe Historical Association

History and Economy in Zimbabwe’s Financial Crisis Context

By Tinashe Nyamunda

Much attention has been focused on the failings of the ZANU-PF regime in Zimbabwe since the 1980s. Analyses of economic collapse that correctly and consistently point to the capacity and shortcomings of this nationalist liberation movement-turned-government have centred on its authoritarian rule, maladministration, corruption, neo-patrimonialism, clientilism, political paternalism and violence. Acknowledging initial positives in health and education, land reform and mixed attempts at economic indigenisation, other observers have turned towards amplifying what they view as the positives from these experiences. Illuminating as these perspectives are, they are insufficient in explaining the current crisis. They miss a critical point—an assessment of how to manage post-colonial economies.

The politics and predation of the economy by ZANU PF became the rallying point of the opposition movement from the late 1990s onwards. As the economic crisis escalated in the 2000s, it resulted in…

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5th Annual Conference for the Zimbabwe Historical Association

Zimbabwe Historical Association


Dates: 31 July – 2 August 2019
Venue: Midlands State University, Zvishavane Campus


Call for abstracts

The Zimbabwe Historical Association (ZHA) Fifth Annual Conference comes at a time when Zimbabwe has experienced a lot of social, economic and political turns, especially in urban spaces. Undeniably, urban life since colonial times has been characterised by a series of tragedies and triumphs. But, what new trajectories and narratives have emerged over time? Politicians, clergymen, news reporters, blog writers, musicians have all expressed their view in various ways, capturing what has happened in urban Zimbabwe for decades. The non-urban spaces, too, have also been sites of shifts and turns on various frontiers including the political and economic. Most of these have escaped the scrutiny of mainstream media and even scholarship. ZHA’s next conference seeks to provide a…

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Fare thee well, Oliver Mtukudzi

Tanaka Chidora

It was the late Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura who defined poetry, once upon a lecture, as the overflow of emotion captured in moments of tranquillity. I was still a young undergrad with milk on the nose when Dr Chivaura gave this definition.

I had never, in my wildest dreams, imagined myself becoming a poet of sorts. Now I write songs. I write poems. I write stories. Unfortunately, I still keep what I write to myself, and give my social media friends a few bits to nibble here and there. Moments of tranquillity are hard to come by, so I write a few verses and paragraphs every time they make a surprise entrance.

I knew Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi when I was still a little snot-faced boy in the village back in the 1990s. We did not have a radio or TV at home, but my grandmother, VaChikara, had a radio, and my…

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