Making Ends Meet at the Margins?: Grappling with Economic Crisis and Belonging in Beitbridge Town, Zimbabwe. Rekopantswe Mate. Dakar, CODESRIA, 2005, 44 p., ISBN 2-86978-152-0Number of visits: 1998
In this fascinating study Rekopantswe shows how neoliberalism has brought far-reaching social change in Zimbabwe, a situation made worse by other factors such as HIV and AIDS which have created unprecedented desperation, poverty and helplessness. A consequence of this is that people are more aware of identity and deploy it to define access to resources and to elbow out those that they perceive to be different from them. However, as the study demonstrates, in their day-to-day interactions, people do not seem able to make connections between what is happening locally and the international situation, and as a result blame their neighbours for their misfortunes. This perpetuates social tension and increases the potential for conflict. This is indeed refreshing, insightful, empirically grounded and gender conscious analysis of the situation of those at the margins of plenty.
Rekopantswe Mate lectures at the University of Zimbabwe, Department of Sociology. Her research interests hover around issues of identities in societies going through a lot of socio-economic change such as present-day Zimbabwe. She is currently doing research on youth sexuality in the face of HIV and AIDS looking at how youths perceive and respond to this scourge in the face of socio-economic crises.