Tamuka Chekero, a Zimbabwean national, is a PhD student in anthropology at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. He holds an MSc in social anthropology (UCT), a BSc Honors degree in social anthropology (Great Zimbabwe University), Zimbabwe. His current research, based in Cape Town, looks at how people who have crossed and re-crossed national borders form relationships, make and maintain connections through conviviality. The project interrogates systems of blockage in the mobility of people, ideas, and resources necessary to on-going world-making in Southern Africa. Chekero has worked as a researcher at New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town where he researched on Clinical Audit of Post-Operative Comfort in adults. He has also been a research assistant in the Primary Health Care Directorate Department at the University of Cape Town. His recent coauthored publication explores forms of mutuality and conviviality between Shona migrants from Zimbabwe and Tsonga-speaking South Africans living in Giyani, South Africa. It explores ways in which the Shona concept of hushamwari (translated as “friendship”) and the commensurate xiTsonga category of kuhanyisana (“to help each other to live”) allow for conviviality. His research interests include mobility, migration, development, forced displacement, urban livelihoods, obstetrics, and reproductive healthcare.
This research seeks to undo stereotypic representations of African migration and cosmopolitanism by exploring from actors' points of view the ways that mobilities – of people, things and ideas – matter. In so doing, the work will interrogate systems of blockage in the flow of people, ideas and resources necessary to ongoing world-making in Southern Africa. Some of these blockages include national policy, the exercise of sovereign state power, local hostilities and gatekeeping. The project will examine the ways that belonging is predicated on mobility – what Francis Nyamnjoh calls 'nimble-footedness'. This study is a remit of a project on African Mobilities that involves working across questions of nation, state, boundaries, political studies, anthropology and law. The study is regional in focus, looking at how people who have crossed and re-crossed national borders form relationships, make and maintain connections. In gathering data I will not delineate a single research population defined in terms of national origin ab initio as is often the case in studies of migration. Beginning from nation-based identifications (e.g. Zimbabweans in South Africa; Congolese in South Africa, Chinese in South Africa) curtails the kinds of questions about group and identity formation and may cause short-sightedness in understanding the density, intensity and range of networks that migrants may draw on. I consider the regionality of the focus and its breadth of focus to be core elements in understanding mobilities and relationships. The Anthropological focus will enable careful understanding of how objects and people are mobilised, activated, vitalised and circulate.