Grassroots Movements in the Global South- Durban, South Africa
As an anthropologist, I am interested in people and their meaning-making practices. I spent the summer researching and gathering primary data to understand how social activists gain agency through Abahlali baseMjondolo, a social movement that aims to voice concerns of shack-dwellers in South Africa. My work in Durban has taught me to understand people, their societies and relationships as dynamic and historically informed; and while situated in time and place, still connected with other times and places in ways that are interesting to be studied and articulated.
I spent Summer 2013 on gathering ethnographic data for my senior thesis on the Durban-based grassroots social movement, also the largest poor people's movement with a radical populist agenda in South Africa. The mobilizing narrative for this movement is that of "living politics," which signifies a state of becoming within the lived world and political mobilization of the poor, performing
political engagement in invisible and visible ways.