Welcome to my website! It is dedicated to my ongoing PhD project and miscellaneous things around it. You will find information on my dissertation project, insights into my photography and research interests.
But what led me to focus on former social welfare buildings in a township next to a Chinese-run mine in Zambia? To me, everything started with one year abroad in the best country on earth for student exchange programmes: Malaysia. In Malaysia, I discovered, apart from the majority Malay population, their traditions and religion, the Overseas Chinese and their cultural practices. Eventually, I simply had to study the unfamiliar characters they used to write and wanted to trace back their origin. Chinese Studies had to be my major at university.
The other minority living in Malaysia is Indian: Tamils from the southern, Dravidian state of Tamil Nadu. Through a school exchange programme of my grammar school, I had the opportunity to visit India (Bangalore in Karnataka). Like China, India fascinated me. I returned to India after school, worked in Anekal and travelled the country up to Himachal Pradesh. But the most magical time in India I spent in Kalimpong. Set on the foot of the Himalayan range, this city is an incomparable mixture of Eastern and Southern Asia.
The years at university were dominated by 'China': language, history, literature and politics. But then in 2011, following the Chinese again, but now away from Mainland China, my focus shifted to Sub-Saharan Africa. I took a bus and travelled from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, passing Dodoma on to Mbeya, crossing the border to Zambia at Tunduma, night-riding the Great North Road to Lusaka, and finally via Chirundu to Zimbabwe. In Makumbi, my final destination, I conducted a Chinese beginner's class at a local highschool. You will not imagine how ambitious these students were to take on that language.
Like myself, the people I met in Africa wanted to know more about that nation far in the east and its true intentions of coming to Africa. This was the basis for my PhD project which I took to the field in July 2015. But the Chinese in the mining industry did not want to talk. They forced me to change my research focus. Enter urban history of Zambia.