Across the Copperbelt
For the open access edited volume Across the Copperbelt I wrote down the story of the Serve Zambia Foundation. It was founded as a home-based care initiative in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the early 2000s. Like many other private initiatives the foundation reappropriated a former social welfare building of the local mining corporation: an old mine clinic. The clinic had been left to processes of post-industrial ruination following the reprivatisation of Zambia's copper sector. Starting from the colonial and corporate history of Luanshya and based on the case of the Serve Zambia Foundation my chapter retraces social and material change in the former mine township of Mpatamatu.
Speak, Friend, and Enter?
During my fieldwork in Zambia I wanted to conduct research on the shared working environment of Chinese and Zambian mineworkers. After half a year of networking myself up through Zambian agencies, ministries and several embassies, I had to realign my research topic. I was not the first researcher to be denied research access by the copper mining industry. My own experience made me reflect on the history of fieldwork access in ethnographic research on the mining industry. My central question became how fieldwork access and anthropological knowledge production enforced each other. In June 2000, my article was published by the Journal of Southern African Studies
In April 2019, I joined the China Programme of Stiftung Asienhaus. I have gone through exciting and challenging months since. Together with my colleague, I managed the last group of the EU-China NGO Twinning Programme. After seven years, this unique exchange programme for Chinese and European civil society organisations comes to an end this year. We worked hard in order to keep civil society spaces open for a constructive dialogue between Chinese and European organisations. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its implications for organisations in China's 'partner countries' of South East Asia has become my focus. Apart from my new job, I am still busy with publishing the results from my fieldwork in Zambia. A first article ought to be out with the Journal of Southern African Studies in the second quarter of 2020.